Toy fire truck sets awards alight

Winning design Brave Dave the fire truck. Image: supplied.

Putting out fires requires bravery. So too does competing in the toy market with a product made uniquely from healthy, renewable, sustainable sources.

Brave Dave, the 100% natural toy red fire truck is made from naturally coloured wool and FSC certified New Zealand timber to create a loveable toy that not only stimulates child development but is 100% biocompatible, biodegradable and recyclable.

The toy fire truck co-designed by Blythe Rees-Jones of Virtuo Design took out the Designers Institute of New Zealand’s highest award, the Purple Pin at the annual Best Design Awards.

Tauranga local Blythe says “We designed Brave Dave to nurture, care and delight those that matter most – our kids.”

“We wanted to honour real play and respect real materials, and free the playroom from cheap, easy to break and unsafe toys that don’t stimulate little people and are full of harmful toxins.”

The judges were unanimous in their decision to award Brave Dave a Purple Pin, believing “the toy’s design novelty and innovation in a highly competitive international industry sector, combined with its sustainable credentials, demonstrated a significant achievement and rich potential for international commercial success.”

Another Tauranga-based design company, Quentosity, picked up a Gold Award for its pro bono marketing, design and digital support of The Cookie Project – a ground-breaking social enterprise providing work experience to people with disabilities.

The Cookie Project bakers. Image: supplied.

The e-commerce platform that supports The Cookie Project was built inside just two weeks by Quentosity who stepped in on learning that the project had been let down.

Normally a three-month project, the Quentosity team worked night and day and on days off to build the website that’s not only easy to buy cookies from but conveys the energy and social purpose of the Cookie Project and is also optimised to meet the accessibility requirements of the Accessibility Tick programme.

The company also came up with the marketing, digital strategy and packaging design that includes a QR code that links to the website profile of the person who baked the cookies.

The judges admired the way that the Cookie Project’s proud and dignified focus on inclusion and participation is reflected in the interaction design and the strong focus on accessibility: “they really seem to be walking their own talk.”

DINZ CEO Cathy Veninga says one of the overriding themes of this year’s finalists was not just that our design community is producing world class design, but that the designs and the vehicles for them reflect a recognisably Kiwi response to our changing times

“A sense of place, a sense of kindness, a sense of humour, an enriching experience and a lightness of touch.

“All of these characteristics are coming to the fore through design as we grapple with adapting to new social and environmental norms. Both of these incredible projects underline the way in which design is both driving and supporting positive change.”

Being held for the 21st consecutive year, the Best Design Awards is the largest design awards programme in the Southern Hemisphere. This year’s awards attracted over 1200 entries from New Zealand and Australia, across 9 categories.

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