UNIVERSITY students have had the unique opportunity of pitching toy design concepts to the Oscar-winning studio Aardman.

Designs by 28 product design students were put before Adam Vincent-Garland, senior interactive and product development executive at Aardman, as part of a link-up between the studio and the University of Sussex.

Aardman now has the option to incorporate its favourite student designs into the Shaun the Sheep product line.

Matthew Tuck, 21, from Worthing, received awards for best prototype and best overall design for his game Tractor Footy which sees youngsters play football with remote controlled tractors.

He said: “It was a really good experience to have my work reviewed by Aardman and to have feedback from Adam, who is someone really respected in the industry, is invaluable.

“When I started the product design course, I was more interested in the engineering side than the creative side but the course has given me the tools and freedom to become a better designer.

“This has made me rethink my career path and my options.

“That is what every product designer wants, to see something they have designed on sale in shops.

“That would be the dream and so that’s why you put a lot of effort into your design to try and make that happen.”

Second year students were tasked by Aardman to produce a toy which could be considered for the sequel to the Shaun the Sheep Movie, which earned Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations and took more than $100 million at the box office in 2015.

They were asked to thoroughly research the global toy market as well as manufacturing techniques, and produce a high quality render or prototype of the toy that had been thoroughly user tested.

They spent 12 weeks honing their designs as part of the toy and game design module which forms part of the degree.

Working on a live brief with industry experts was designed to challenge design skills as well as giving the students a great opportunity to put into practice the design thinking, communication and engineering skills learned.

Mr Vincent-Garland said: “The students did a great job and presented their ideas professionally with a good understanding of the brand and marketplace.

“It was brilliant to see so many interesting ideas with heaps of potential.”

Diane Simpson-Little, senior teaching fellow in engineering and design at the university, said: “This has been an absolutely fantastic experience for all students involved.”