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Designer Dylan wins excellence award

Vanessa Lam

13 August 2015: University of Canberra industrial design graduate Dylan White has won the Overall Award of Excellence at the Design of Institute of Australia's 2015 Australasian Graduate of the Year Awards, topping the pool of graduates from both Australia and New Zealand.

He also won in their Object Design Category, on the back of being named the NSW/ACT 2015 Graduate of the Year for Industrial Design.

Being the first time a University of Canberra graduate has won the Overall Award of Excellence, Mr White said he was proud that his passion, persistence and hard work resulted in such a prestigious and well-regarded form of recognition.

"It was truly amazing to be given this accolade, it's given me a lot of confidence in myself as a designer," he said.

"When I started my industrial design degree I never imagined I could win such a prestigious award like this, but now I feel like I can achieve anything, which is thanks to all the experiences I had during my time at the University of Canberra."

Originally from Cowra, Mr White donated $200 of his $1,000 overall prize money to the Central West NSW headspace in support of mental health wellbeing for young adults.

The 22-year-old is now back in his hometown working as part of the research and development team at K-line Agriculture, a company that manufactures and supplies agricultural machinery.

Mr White said the skills he learnt at the University have helped in his new role, saying he enjoyed his studies.

"Studying at the University was like being part of a family because you spend so much time in the workshop or in the studio with your peers and lecturers. The teachers I had were very patient, they devote time to you and that's really vital to your learning.

"I didn't have the design skills I do now before coming into the course and it's through their teaching, passion and patience that they've helped me develop these skills to communicate ideas and grow as a person."

For the awards, Mr White presented three pieces of his design work from his degree: an aerodynamic cycling helmet, manual espresso machine and three-wheeled vehicle styling concept, which are featured on his online portfolio. The judges unanimously awarded him the Overall Award of Excellence for these prototypes and praised his high level of innovation and creativity in his designs.

The bike helmet design is based on integrating the designs of both an aerodynamic time trail cycling helmet and multi-ventilated helmet. It features a new technology called electroactive polymers, which expand when an electric current is added, so the helmet can open and close depending on the user's needs.

The manual espresso machine was a prototype created in conjunction with Breville. The design combines a traditional manual pull espresso machine with technology including sensors and touch screens for the user to become more engaged in the coffee-making process.

He developed a three-wheeled vehicle design concept for Helix Motors during a six-month exchange at the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Barcelona, Spain, where he studied transportation design. The design was part of a competition run at IED in conjunction with Helix Motors and Mr White's design gained him a special mention in the competition.

He said he enjoyed the opportunity to work with real design based companies while at the University, especially as a student transitioning to becoming a professional.

"I hope that the industrial design course continues growing like it has been because it is a fantastic course that is really hands-on and I'm not sure if many other universities around Australia get to work with companies like Breville and other design-based companies," Mr White said.

Mr White hopes to travel overseas to continue his studies in transportation design and possibly start his own design firm in the future.