Industrial design awards recognize the best examples of manufactured products while setting new bars for practitioners and students. Earning an award has turned into an extremely competitive task. The judging criteria for some of the most prestigious competitions like Red Dot, Good Design, D&AD Yellow/Black Pencil and IDEA gives just as much — if not more — importance to the user relevance of a product as to a dramatic form factor and pristine execution. These elites of products are perceived as role models and directly influence new generations of designers.
An analysis of the actual user acceptance and market performance of awarded products surprisingly shows little correlation. Although there are fabulous examples of design increasing the value of a product, most products in the bestselling lists of retailers are nowhere to be seen in design awards ceremonies and vice versa. This inconsistency raises an interesting dilemma. Should design awards be more sensitive to market performance or should they maintain their actual focus so that the forward thinking and innovation is not limited by the business? A collection of opinions from different segments of the design and business worlds will provide insights into the current role of design awards and their influence in society. These opinions will open up a dialog for a better understanding of the implications of design awards and their role in design education and practice.
|Keywords:||Design Competitions, Design Education, Industrial Design, Student Experience, Design Portfolio, Material Landscape|
Assistant Professor of Industrial Design, School of Design, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA
Associate Professor in Industrial Design, Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology, School of Art and Design, College of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA
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