Students Devised new products for Puma Darts

15 June 2015

Dart enthusiasts will, in time, see fresh products on the market thanks to collaboration between Puma Darts Ltd and design students from Massey University.

Puma Darts is the leading global producer and marketer of darts, dartboards and darting equipment based in New Zealand. It's Bandit Boards are officially recognised for tournament and competition play by the World Dart Federation.  Puma Dart's still manufacture quality products in Katikati, Bay of Plenty, where the family-run business began in 1970.

The darts world has almost insatiable demand for innovation. Asian interest in the sport is growing rapidly, driven in part by the development of the soft tip digital dart and board that have enabled dart halls to host real-time online tournaments. Demand for novel accessories is high, along with traditional products (boards, high tech darts, shafts, barrels, flights).

Marketing Director Julie Carlson was interested in what design students might offer and contacted Massey University. As a result, 53 industrial design students and staff, led by Industrial Design Lecturer Matthijs Siljee, did a two-day field trip from Wellington, incorporating visits to Puma Darts in Bay of Plenty and designers in Hawkes Bay, with thanks to the Taupo scout hall for the overnight accommodation. Following this brief but immersive introduction, the students had to develop original design concepts for new products suitable for Puma Darts.

“These real world challenges are invaluable for students. They loved it and, for me, it is the best way to teach about client engagement and intellectual property. We are very grateful to Puma Darts for being so open and professional in their dealings with the students,” says Industrial Design Lecturer Matthijs Siljee.

As for the quality of the student’s designs: Puma Darts Marketing Director Julie Carlson says the company is very impressed with the students’ design ideas and has segmented the most promising ones into three main groups:

  1. Ideas that are most ready for market, which will be taken forward soonest
  2. Ideas that need more development from either the Puma Darts team or an external designer
  3. Cases where a component of the design could be used to meet a market gap or need in a different way than the student envisaged.

“The students were very professional, and so enthusiastic, says Julie Carlson. “We look forward to getting the first wave of product onto the market and to an ongoing relationship with Matthijs and his team at Massey.”


Image: Industrial Design Lecturer Matthijs Siljee with some of his students’ designs of dart accessories