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Brief 3: Fair Play

Design or re-design a consumer toy and its product packaging to eliminate waste, using circular design principles. 






  • Toys are an important part of children’s physical, mental, social and emotional development across different cultures and age groups. They stimulate imagination and creativity, support learning and education, and provide opportunities for play and fun.

  • Toy packaging fulfils some useful and important functions: protection of goods; brand identity and promotion; storage; display and advertising at the point of sale; provision of product information; meeting safety requirements, and even social ritual (eg giving packaged gifts).

  • But despite the many positive aspects of toys and their packaging, many become obsolete and are discarded very quickly. Toys and their packaging are one of the worst offenders when it comes to landfill – enormous volumes of waste are generated in their production and consumption, despite the resources and energy expended in their creation.

  • Given the finite resources of the planet and increasing rates of consumption by a growing population, current levels of waste are simply unsustainable. Just ‘using less’ and recycling is not enough. We need to completely rethink the manufacture and life cycle of products and their components, and design them in a way that eliminates waste.

How should you approach this brief?

  • This brief asks you to apply circular design thinking – ‘designing out waste’ – to a consumer toy and its packaging. The Ellen McArthur Foundation, the Circular Design Guide and the RSA’s Great Recovery Project provide further information and practical circular design resources that should inform your approach to this brief. (You could even consider designing a circular toy that teaches children early on about the circular economy, waste and sustainability principles…)

  • You can design a toy targeted at any age group or culture, anywhere in the developed or developing world. Make sure you explore the real user need/s of your target audience through primary research, and ensure your toy and its packaging are attractive to them as well as safe to use and handle.

  • In addition to the toy itself, make sure your submission details the packaging design, including:

    • positioning of the company/brand logo

    • material production and specification

    • photographs or renderings of models and prototypes

    • an indication of cost

  • For the purposes of illustration only, the following would all be viable responses:

    • a toy and associated packaging made from a repurposed waste stream

    • a toy that promotes reuse, repair and retention

    • a way of repurposing packaging to become part of the toy itself

    • a toy and packaging that can be easily returned to the product manufacturer for remanufacture

    • a toy and packaging that grows with a child’s changing needs and desires

… and many others are possible.

Please note: this is an excerpt from the brief, for the full text and information, please download the brief. 


There are three awards available for this brief.

Marketing Trust Award of £2000

Waitrose Award of £2000

Placement Award at The Chartered Institute of Marketing

Grant to support living expenses: £2,500 

Placement duration: 8 weeks

Location: Maidenhead, Berkshire

The judging panel may decide on more than one winner per award and will allocate the awards accordingly. In addition, the judging panel may award commendations.

Sponsored by

With additional support from

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and Waitrose


Aug 2018 – Briefs launch + register your interest online

Mon 14 Jan 2019 – Competition opens for submissions via

Wed 13 Feb 2019, 4 pm GMT – Deadline for ‘early bird’ submissions at reduced entry fee of £25

Wed 13 Mar 2019, 4 pm GMT – Final deadline for online registration + submissions (£35 entry fee)

20 Mar 2019 – Judging begins (2 stages: anonymous shortlisting + interviews with finalists)

May 2019 – Winners announced

Jun 2019 – Awards ceremony

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