Kingston University graduate's backpack design offers music fans a sleek option to stay hydrated and keep drinks out of harm's way at festivals

Posted Wednesday 28 June 2017

With festival season well and truly underway across the United Kingdom, music lovers are seeking fresh ways to stay hydrated in soaring temperatures. Enter the Pikpäk a Kingston University graduate's innovative answer to the call for safe and responsible drinking at outdoor concerts.

Graphic design alumna Magdalena Huber's prototype backpack allows festival-goers to carry drinks on their backs, with the pack fastening around the shoulders with fabric cords. The eco-friendly design is refillable, lightweight and sealed with a cap, ensuring the contents are kept safe.

Magdalena's focus on creating a more secure way to carry drinks came about after her research into the problems people face at shows. She said the biggest concern for many attendees was the risk of drink spiking. "A lot of the women who answered my survey said people tampering with their drinks was a particular worry at big festivals," she explained.

The 26 year old from Schalchen in Austria, hand crafted the Pikpäk from a recyclable material often used to make Tetra Pak cartons for commercial drinks like iced coffee. The backpack allows for almost a litre of liquid to be sealed off and carried easily, eliminating the need to put your drink aside at any time, Magdalena explained. "I am personally very aware of my own safety when I go to gigs with my sister and friends, so it was important to me to design something that could help to secure our drinks and our safety.

The Pikpäk sports a minimalist look to wear with any festival outfit. Credit: Doris Himmelbauer."The rucksack solves other common challenges too no spillage while you dance, no dirt in the liquid and no need to down drinks at the bar to free your hands for pushing through a festival crowd," she added.

The young designer entered the Pikpäk in a student competition that asked entrants to create a festival drink for Bestival, a four-day event held in Dorset, UK. The finished product caught the eye of the packaging industry, scoring first place in the student category of the 2017 Dieline Awards which recognises the best talent in consumer product packaging design worldwide.

"The more I spoke to people about my idea and researched the industry, it became clear there was a gap in the market for an invention like the Pikpäk," Magdalena said. "I was surprised at how few options exist for responsible drink packaging at festivals we really only have plastic cups so there's certainly room for improvement."

She created a unisex look for the backpack, drawing inspiration from minimalist, eco-friendly Scandinavian design. The name Pikpäk comes from the Swedish phrase, ‘med pick och pack' literally in English, ‘with pick and pack' and figuratively the equivalent of ‘everything but the kitchen sink'.

Magdalena's keen eye for the finer details drew the attention of award-winning brand design agency JDO which offered her an internship in the final term of her masters degree.

MA Communication Design course leader David Phillips said students from Kingston University's Kingston School of Art are encouraged to think outside the margins during their studies. "Although Magdalena was a graphic design student, she was fantastic at making the most of all the facilities available and exploring other methods of design to bring her concept for the Pikpäk to life," Mr Phillips explained.

"She was one of the top students in her year and really made the most of the opportunity to enter the competition and gain some experience, which helped to kick-start her career," he added.

Previously known as the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, the school is now preparing to return to its original name of Kingston School of Art in September to celebrate its art school ethos and its heritage as one of the country's leading providers of art and design education.

Magdalena has now settled back in Austria and is busy fielding requests for her freelance skills, thanks to the attention the Pikpäk received from industry media publications like Dezeen.

"It is still one of my favourite projects and it allowed me to build up enough experience to strike out on my own as a designer, but my heart really beats for typography," she said. "I always loved calligraphy and drawing from an early age and my passion to create in that field only grows stronger."



Latest news stories

Kingston University expert urges rethink on public sector funding as he collects honour for outstanding contribution at Social Worker of the Year Awards

Kingston School of Art's Dr Azadeh Fatehrad showcases the work of legendary Iranian filmmaker Sohrab Shahid Saless

Inspirational Kingston University postgraduate student and educator picks up top honour at Social Worker of the Year Awards

Kingston University professors appointed to prestigious positions as Research Excellence Framework sub-panel chairs

Contact us

General enquiries:

Journalists only: