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  • DUT Alumni


Updated: Apr 18, 2022

Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Graphic Design student, Courtney Shelley recently took home top awards at the World Packaging Organisation’s (WPO) International Packaging Design Student Competition 2021, popularly known as the WorldStar Student Awards.

The multi-disciplinary designer, Shelley beat other hopefuls from around the globe to win the Gold Star Trophy-1st place internationally and the Marketing Appeal Gold Trophy for her Bee Loved Honey design and marketing appeal, respectively.

Initially, Shelley’s third-year lecturers entered her packaging design into the 2021 Student Gold Pack Competition where she was announced as the overall winner in the Graphic Design Category as well as the Best overall in Brief 3 securing her the Gold Trophy. Thereafter, her packaging was entered into the WPO WorldStar Student Awards, a prestigious international packaging competition for students.

Shelley is passionate about sustainability and environmental issues so she chose brief 3 – which required entrants to design packaging for any branded product, existing or of their own creation, with the objective of promoting environmental awareness.

“Due to lockdown I spent a lot of time working from home so I started creating terrariums out of old glass jars to decorate my windowsill and bring the outside environment, in. That sparked the idea of using plants as a way to educate. After more ideation, honey combs became a core influence on the overall design of the packaging, from the shape of the box and product windows, to how they pack together when shipped or on the shelf,” she said.

Shelley believes that bees are an integral part of the ecosystem and their population decline is not well known and that many people don’t know how to help the bees.

“My goal was to educate and encourage the consumer to help the bees and give them a fun and easy way to do so, to create an experience with a 360-degree utility not just for consumers but something that would also help the bees. I wanted to help facilitate the change of perception surrounding bees as natures essential, Bee Loved little workers rather than pests,” said Shelley.

She also thanked her lecturers and the Graphic Design Department for supporting her. “Then came the overwhelming happiness and joy in sharing this achievement with not only my parents but my wonderful lecturers Frank and Marlene. This achievement would not have been possible without their wisdom and support. DUT has the best Graphic Design Department without a doubt and I feel honoured to have represented DUT and South Africa internationally!”

Shelley hopes to one day start her own design business and would love to see her Bee Loved Honey packaging on the shelves in stores.

“To have started my career off like this is an absolute dream! Maybe, just maybe my Bee Loved Honey packaging will one day “bee” seen on the shelf? Right now, the future is so uncertain but I just hope to continue growing and learning. Industry can be a bit intimidating but just as well, I love a good challenge. My plan for the future is an imperfect one, I hope to one day started my own design agency and I am now one step closer to reaching my dream!” she said.

Another Graphic Design student, Michaela Naidoo received a Certificate of Merit, while three others Brett Caldecott, Nqobile Khuzwayo and Ovuyonke Sotsaka received Certificates of Recognition for their entries.

The WorldStar Student Awards competition is owned and produced by the World Packaging Organisation. It is an international packaging design competition for students – undergraduate or graduate – from countries around the world who are involved in projects in the field of packaging, including structural design and/or graphic design. The 2021 competition had students from Australia, Brazil, China, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Palestine, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Pictured: Graphic Design student and multi-disciplinary designer, Courtney Shelley with her awards. Image supplied.

Pictured 2: Shelley’s winning Bee Loved Packaging. Image supplied.

Andile Dube

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