In this article, I would like to introduce 9 significant design awards from around the world. Being awarded with one of these is proof that your design is excellent, and will highly influence your advertisements, PR, or branding. As a designer, it is also a great opportunity to demonstrate your skills as well as gain social credibility.
I hope that this article will give you a better understanding of the design awards worldwide, as well as provide you with a source of inspiration through award-winning designs.
iF Design Award (Germany)
The iF Design Award is one of the world’s most prestigious and rigorous design awards. It has been held by German organisation Industrie Forum Design Hannover e.V. since 1953. Approximately 60 design and architecture specialists from over 20 nations gather to select the award-winner, basing their judgements on strictly neutral screening standards. There are two awards; the iF Design Award and the iF Gold Award. The iF Gold Award is given to designs that are especially highly evaluated. Only 1-2% of all contestants are awarded with this prize, meaning these designs will be praised as the best. There are seven categories for entry; Product, Packaging, Communication, Interior Architecture, Professional Concept, Service Design / UX, and Architecture. The “Service Design / UX” category seems to symbolise the expansion of the field of design in recent years. I feel that it is as if design is now globally recognised as something not just about creating a shape or model, but also about creating an experience.
iF Gold Award (Highest ranking)
iF Design Award (Standard prize)
Red Dot Design Award (Germany)
The Red Dot Design Award is reputable worldwide and is among one of the largest and leading design awards in the world. The award was established in 1995 by ICSID (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. Renamed World Design Organization in 2017) chairman Peter Zec. The event is held at Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Germany. More than 10,000 entries are sent in annually from more than 50 countries and regions for the three categories; Product Design, Communication Design, and Design Concept. The Design Concept category was established in 2005 and is aimed at new designs that have not yet been released in the market. New products or services awaiting release, as well as innovative ideas and prototypes in its early development stage are evaluated under this category. There is also a special honorary prize awarded to the best design team, the Design Team of the Year title. No contestant can enter specifically for this prize; one winner is chosen every year from all entries. This title is to praise the team’s success in continuously providing innovative designs to the world. For a design team, it is a truly honorable award. Many famous design teams have been awarded this title in the past, such as Apple, Audi, Nokia, and Lenovo. In Japan, only Sony has been awarded with the “Design Team of the Year”.
[Product Design category]
Red Dot Best of the Best (Top prize)
Red Dot (Outstanding prize)
Red Dot Honourable Mention
Red Dot Design Team of the Year (Team prize)
[Communication Design category]
Red Dot Grand Prix (Highest ranking)
Red Dot Best of the Best (Top prize)
Red Dot (Outstanding prize)
Red Dot Junior Prize (Best up-and-coming designer)
Red Dot Agency of the Year (Agency prize)
Red Dot Brand of the Year (Brand prize)
[Design Concept category]
Red Dot Luminary (Highest achievement)
Red Dot Best of the Best (Top prize)
Red Dot (Outstanding prize)
Red Dot Honourable Mention
IDEA Award / International Design Excellence Awards (United States)
The IDEA Award was founded in 1980 by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) and is one of the most distinguished design awards in the world. Instead of its full name, it is better known by its abbreviated form, the IDEA Award. This award is renowned internationally and is considered one of the three major design awards in the world, alongside the iF Design Award and the Red Dot Design Award. The award is especially considered the most prestigious for product design. There are 20 categories for entry, ranging from industrial design such as automotive & transportation, to digital design, environmental design, and service design. The adjudication panel includes members from top ranking corporations such as Google, Microsoft, or Nike, as well as prominent design studios, and specialists from each industry. The decisions are made based on strict criteria including innovativeness, UX, and esthetics. Winning designs are kept as part of the collection in the Henry Ford Museum.
A’Design Award (Italy)
The A’Design Award is the world’s largest international design competition, held in Italy. There are 100 categories for entry, including furniture design, graphic design, and 3D model design. There are also some unique categories that apply to human resources, such as those that judge design strategy, or the futuristic design category which evaluates prospective products and services. The awards are given in ranking order of Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Iron. There is also the Designer of the Year Award which is given to the highest achieving designer. It is an honourable prize to praise the designer who most influenced the advancement of the design industry. The winner is chosen from designers, creators, architects, innovators, and artists. Moreover, there are the Young Design Pioneer Awards which are awarded to up-and-coming designers. This applies to candidates under the age of 40, and a maximum of three of these awards are given every year.
Designer of the Year
Young Design Pioneer Awards
Good Design Awards (United States)
The Good Design Awards are known as the oldest design award in the world. It was founded in 1950 by the following leading designers of that generation: curator of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Edgar Kaufmann Jr., acclaimed furniture designers Charles and Ray Eames, industrial designer Russel Wright, another famous furniture designer George Nelson, and renowned architect Eero Saarinen. The awards are held at the The Chicago Athenaeum Museum. In 2009, a new category called the Green Good Design Award was established. This award is given to the design that is sophisticated yet environmentally friendly.
The Chicago Athenaeum Good Design
The Chicago Athenaeum Green Good Design
D&AD Awards (England)
The D&AD Awards were founded by British non-profit organisation D&AD (British Design & Art Direction) in 1962. This award is considered the most prestigious design and advertising award in the creative industry. The awards are also renowned for its extremely strict adjudication, and there are even years when the highest achieving Black Pencil award is not given out. In 2012, a new award called the White Pencil award was established. This award is to recognise those who came up with creative ideas that also impacted a change in society. There are also other awards, including: the D&AD Professional Awards to choose the world’s best photographer, the D&AD New Blood Awards aimed at up-and-coming people in the creative industry under the age of 23, and the Next Director Award which is given to a film director with less than two years of experience with high potential for the future.
Black Pencil (Highest achievement)
Yellow Pencil (Gold)
Graphite Pencil (Silver)
Wood Pencil (Bronze)
White Pencil (Honourable mention)
D&AD Professional Awards (Photographers)
D&AD New Blood Awards (Youths)
Next Director Award (New film directors)
ELLE DECO INTERNATIONAL DESIGN AWARDS (Italy)
The ELLE DECO INTERNATIONAL DESIGN AWARDS were established in 2003, and is a prestigious award also referred to as the Oscars of interior design. Every year, 25 editors of the interior magazine ELLE DECO international network come together to choose the highest achieving work in 13 different categories. The awards are best known as EDIDA and its winners are announced during the largest furniture trade fair in the world, the Milan Furniture Fair. In 2012, Oki Sato of nendo became the youngest person to be awarded the Designer of the Year award. This is an internationally recognised honourable prize that is awarded to the designer who gained the most attention that year.
DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
YOUNG DESIGN TALENT
The Pentawards are recognised as the most prestigious award in the world that specialises in packaging design. It was founded in 2007 by designers Jean Jacques Evrard and Brigitte Evrard. The awards ceremony is held in a city chosen amongst Europe, Asia, North America and Latin America. 12 international adjudicators of which include top class designers and packaging design directors of major corporations gather to judge entries from worldwide. There are 5 main categories for entry: Food, Beverage, Body, Other Markets, and Luxury. With 55 subcategories which branch out of these 5, the Pentawards are considered the most extensive awards for packaging design. The Diamond Pentaward, given to the most outstanding work out of all categories, is recognised as an extremely honorary award.
Official website: http://www.pentawards.org
Diamond Pentaward (Most outstanding out of all categories)
Platinum Pentaward (Most outstanding of its category)
Gold Pentaward (Most outstanding of its subcategory)
Silver Pentaward (2 highest achieving works in its subcategory)
Bronze Pentaward (2 achieving works in its subcategory)
Good Design Award (Japan)
The Good Design Award is the most distinguished design awards in Japan, better known as the “G Mark”. Established in 1957, over 44,000 awards have been given out over the years. The Good Design Award is described as below on its official website:
The Good Design Award is a comprehensive design-promotion system that picks good design out of a variety of unfolding phenomena, and aims to enrich our lives, industries, and society as a whole by highlighting and celebrating these works.
Both material and immaterial designs can be submitted. For example, the Japanese idol group AKB48 gained much attention after receiving a Good Design Award for the Entertainment Project Design category. In 2017, travel medium “Sunchi” by Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten Co., Ltd. was awarded the Good Design Special Award [Design of Production Development]. Goodpatch supported the design and development of this project. Other than this, Goodpatch has been awarded with several Good Design Awards for client projects Money Forward, TALKIE, and in-house products Prott and Balto.
[Good Design Award]
This award commends designs recognized as excellent designs that improve the quality of life, industry, and society among all screened items.
This award commends designs recognized as designs that further develop life, industry, and society as well as inspire the future among all award winning objects.
Good Design Grand Award This award is presented to the most outstanding design chosen from among all award winning objects of the 2017 Good Design Awards.
Good Design Gold Award
This award is presented to particularly outstanding designs chosen from among all award winning objects of the 2017 Good Design Awards.
Good Design Special Award [Design of Production Development]
This award is presented to particularly outstanding designs for the manufacturing or information/service industries chosen from among all small and medium-sized enterprises’ award winning objects of the 2017 Good Design Awards.
Good Design Special Award [Design for Community Development]
This award is presented to designs expected to make particular contributions to the development of Japan’s economy through stimulating local economies, chosen from among all award winning objects of the 2017 Good Design Awards.
Good Design Special Award [Design for the Future]
This award is presented to particularly advanced designs expected to contribute to the creation of new businesses or industries, chosen from among all award winning objects of the 2017 Good Design Awards.
Good Design Special Award [Disaster Recovery Design]
This award is presented to outstanding designs expected to contribute to recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake, chosen from among all award winning objects of the 2017 Good Design Awards.
Winning an award is one of the most satisfying ways of receiving professional recognition and promoting designs and products. International competitions are a showcase for a sector that is constantly innovating and highly competitive and in which obtaining an award translates into an advantage over the competition and an increase in sales.
These are some of the most prestigious international awards in the industrial design sector:
The North Rhine-Westphalian design centre in Essen, Germany, gives the Red Dot Award to the best product design, design concept and communication design every year. The award is divided into 31 participation categories for industrial design and thousands of entries are received from dozens of countries every year. Our Delica tray won this award in 2007.
The iF awards given annually by the International Forum Design (iF) are considered the Oscars of product and industrial design. Since 1953, this German competition has awarded excellence in 19 industrial design categories ranging from the design of lighting to office furniture and including car accessories and components. Besides awards for professionals and companies, there is a category for students aimed at young designers that finished their studies in the two years prior to the competition.
Since 1980, the annual competition of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) has been giving awards to the best international designs in 21 categories, one of which is restricted to design students. Every category has three winners who receive the gold, silver and bronze awards. The winning products are included in the Innovation Yearbook of Design Excellence published by the IDSA and they form part of the permanent collection of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. The excellence criteria the jury uses to determine the excellence of a product are its innovation, benefits for the user, customers and society, and the product’s aesthetic values.
The Good Design programme is one of the most solidly established industrial design competitions worldwide. Created in 1950 by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, it is currently held in collaboration with the European Centre
for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies. For 65 years these awards have recognised excellence in the fields of industrial and graphic design in products ranging from a humble paperclip to a Boeing 787. The jury of the Good Design awards comprises distinguished professionals and specialists whose decision is based on innovation criteria, the use of new technologies, form, materials, construction, concept, function, usefulness, energy efficiency and sensitivity to the environment.
The Delta Awards are considered the most important design awards in Spain and they are recognised internationally as well.
These awards are given by ADI-FAD, the Association of Industrial Design located in Barcelona with links to FAD (Fostering Arts and Design). ADI-FAD was founded in 1960 and its purpose is to promote industrial design as a tool for social progress. Based on this aim, the association’s prestigious Delta Awards are held every other year to recognise industrial designers and manufacturing companies.
The Delica tray, designed by Zoocreative, won the Gold Delta Award at the 2005 ADI-FAD Awards, and the Aurea dish drainer designed by Ernest Perera was a finalist in the 2009 Delta Awards.
Competitions in the industrial design sector are always a controversial subject for several reasons, including the selection of the jury members and copyright protection. Let us know what you think about these international competitions in the comments and please share this article on social media.