esuc trophy - click on image to return
ESU Hardacre Trophy 1973

My design proposal for the English Speaking Union of the Commonwealth 'challenge trophy'. I entered this trophy design competition while studying Industrial design at Newcastle upon Tyne polytechnic. Winning it was a mixed blessing for me as making the trophy proved to be a mammoth task that took up most of my summer holiday. The material costs were hardly covered so that I had to dip into my winnings to complete the job. I think the ESU got a pretty good deal as I note that the trophy is still in use today, albeit now gold plated and mounted on a more solid cylindrical plinth.

I did at least, in the process, learn how to forge steel as the two tongues (representing debate and discussion) had to be bent and hammered into shape, then all surfaces filed smooth. Once finished the steel tongues were chrome-plated and mounted onto an ebony base (or was it nylon), this arrangement, with its upside down bridge, represented language bridging the gap (of countries).

The whole process made me question ever entering a competition again and wary of companies and organisations using students to get ideas and products cheaply. Something that later, as a university teacher, I would become all too aware of. I was left with the feeling that I had been duped, having only won because no one else was dumb enough to enter. Maybe that is a little hard, nevertheless, let that be a warning to all design students: read competition rules carefully.

letter - click on image to return