Dezeen Magazine

Colour Countdown card game by The Piggott School from 2024 Design Ventura competition

Schoolchildren merge Uno and I Spy in award-winning card game

Pupils from The Piggott School in Reading, England, have won the Design Museum's Design Ventura competition with a card game that encourages children to learn about colours in their surroundings.

The Colour Countdown game came out on top in the competition, which invites secondary school students aged 13 to 16 to develop a product that can be sold in the Design Museum's gift shop.

Colour Countdown card game by The Piggott School from 2024 Design Ventura competition
Colour Countdown has won the 2024 Design Ventura competition

This year's brief, set by south London textile designer Kangan Arora, called for responses to the theme of colour and community, challenging students to consider "the importance of community practices, supporting and learning from one another".

The game devised by The Piggott School pupils is based on classic card games I Spy and Uno. It aims to encourage children to put down their devices and engage with the world around them to promote positive mental health.

Child holding up colourful playing cards
The cards feature colourful cellophane is made from wood pulp

The playing cards feature coloured cellophane windows that can be overlapped to create a blend of colours, which players then have to search out in their environment.

"You can play anywhere at all," explained the students in their pitch to a judging panel that included Arora and Dezeen's editorial director Max Fraser. "You draw cards of different colours – red, blue, orange, green etc. – and you have to look around and find objects in that colour."

The cellophane is made from wood pulp and the cards use FSC-certified paper to lower the product's environmental footprint.

Also included in this year's judging panel were the Design Museum's senior buying manager Preena Patel and Christoph Woermann, chief marketing officer for Deutsche Bank's Corporate Bank division.

"The winning design was chosen as it responded clearly to the brief in a way which was creative, fun and appealing to a range of audiences," said the judges. "We didn't want to put the product down and we knew that customers in the Design Museum would feel the same."

Launched in 2010 by the Design Museum in partnership with Deutsche Bank, the Design Ventura contest aims to reinforce the importance of early design education and fill gaps in the current design and technology curriculum.

Colour Countdown card game by The Piggott School from 2024 Design Ventura competition
The prototype will now be turned into a sellable product

The contest offers pupils at UK state secondary schools the chance to respond to a real-world brief, supporting the development of skills and experiences that help them understand how to bring ideas to life.

This year's winning project by The Piggott School will now be developed with a professional agency before being manufactured and sold in the Design Museum shop, with money raised from the sales going to a charity of the pupil's choosing.

Previous winners include a portable knife designed to prevent "avocado hand" – an increasingly common injury where people cut themselves while trying to de-stone an avocado.