Cup runneth over for multi-award winner

Think crazy and dream big.

That's the advice of the 2015 Australasian Graduate of the Year Awards (AGOTYA) overall winner, Dylan White.

The Cowra designer beat the best final year design students and graduates in Australia and New Zealand in order to take home the region's most coveted award for emerging designers.

Mr White also took out his category in Object Design and received the Award of Excellence.

Mr White was one of three students selected by the University of Canberra to present a portfolio of three projects to the Design Institute of Australia's (DIA) judging panel.

After being selected as a finalist, alongside two other students from the University of Technology, Mr White travelled to Sydney to present his projects to a panel of eight highly-respected practising design professionals.

"The projects that I chose were ones that I had undertaken as part of my course of studies and also while on an international exchange [to Europe]," Mr White said.

"The 'Dragons Den' 10-minute presentation to the judges was extremely daunting considering that I had to try and sell three projects. All of which took some three to four months to develop; [to sell them] within the 10 minute timeframe whilst still allowing them to ask questions and give feedback was a challenge."

Mr White's final university project, which saw him team up with Breville, proved to be the judges' cup of tea - or java as it were.

"They asked us to design an espresso machine that responded to the emerging market of capsule coffee. My solution was to target a niche market of traditional style espresso makers, whilst using technology to help users make the perfect cup of coffee every time," Mr White said.

"The judges liked that I took a risk in trying to target different users, something that I believe a designer must always strive to do - think crazy then refine into something more logical and that has purpose."

Mr White said his success is motivated by a desire to learn, create and improve humanity.

He's already achieved recognition on the international stage, gaining a special mention in the Helix Motors Styling Design awards during exchange in Europe.

"It was truly eye-opening experience to live and breathe design in Europe. I was absolutely pushed to the limit," Mr White said.

"A start up vehicle company, Helix Motors International, gave us the opportunity to style their three-wheeled concept car. The finished project should be going to market in 2016."

Now working as a part of the research and development team at K-line Agriculture in Cowra, his long-term goal is to continue his studies overseas with a masters in Transportation Design.

"Car design has always been a great passion for me since a young child. Cars are so embedded in our culture as Australians; if I can have the opportunity to work on improving mobility for our future generations I know I will have made a positive impact with my career," Mr White said.

"From there I would love to work in a major automotive design studio but we'll just have to wait and see as to what opportunities come my way."

Mr White's prizes include $1000, a graduate membership to the DIA, Mark Newson's 'Works' book, a profile in Artichoke magazine and a profile in the July edition of the DIA's Spark newsletter.

But what Mr White values the most is the endorsement of his skills as a budding designer.

"This award has helped inspire confidence in myself first and foremost. It's difficult to put your idea's out there for the whole world to judge. You're exposing your inner thoughts and when faced with criticism it can be hard to remain positive and stay objective and focused. You need to design for people not yourself," Mr White said.

Mr White's advice to anyone looking to pursue a career in design is to be fearless.

"In hindsight, my best piece of advice to students at Cowra High, which is where I was four years ago, is to never give up on your dreams and aspirations and to seize every opportunity that arises as you are never quite sure where it will lead to in the future. Don't be intimidated because you come from a small country town," he said.