The International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) has been bestowed upon some of the most innovative products in the world, like the iPhone, MacBook Pro, Tesla Model S, Oculus Rift, and the Xbox. Now in its 43rd edition, and with 20 diverse categories, IDEA is accepting entries to its annual design award program, so you can have your creative work share the same platform with some of the greatest, most iconic products in the world!
Held every single year since its inception in 1980, the International Design Excellence Award is an initiative by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), America’s foremost and oldest organization for Industrial Designers. Its objective – To recognize exceptional achievement in industrial design across an ever-growing roster of diverse categories that now include the likes of design strategy, branding, digital interaction, social impact, service design, and many more. “Design awards, especially the esteemed IDEA, matter. They motivate design teams, boost client economics and help to reinforce a progressive design culture within our society,” says Dan Harden, IDSA member, founder of Whipsaw, and multi-IDEA winner.
Winning an IDEA is a milestone that can help shape the trajectory of your career, putting your design on the world stage and earning it recognition from industry leaders. Aside from multiple categories, the award accepts entries across a wide range of experience levels, with a dedicated category just for student designers. IDEA recognizes products and services that encourage, inspire, and push humanity forward. The IDEA Jury rigorously reviews each entry across five distinct criteria which are unique to the IDEA competition: Design Innovation, Benefit to User, Benefit to Client/Brand, Benefit to Society, and Appropriate Aesthetics. Winners receive significant international publicity and global exposure, including high-profile industry promotion by IDSA and across media outlets, and are awarded the iconic 5-piece IDEA trophy that can be pulled apart to reveal the letters which spell “IDEA”. In addition to receiving the highly coveted trophy, all winners are featured in IDSA’s annual Yearbook of Design Excellence, a standout collector’s edition magazine distributed to a global audience of design professionals and business executives. Winning IDEA products are also eligible to become part of the permanent collection of The Henry Ford Museum, where they remain ever-present symbols of ingenuity and mastery of craft.
Entries for the 43rd annual International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA)® are now open to all creatives including individual designers, studios, and students, through the official deadline of March 6th, 2023. The 20 IDEA 2023 categories are Automotive & Transportation, Branding, Children’s Products, Commercial & Industrial Products, Concepts & Speculative Design, Consumer Technology, Design Strategy, Digital Interaction, Environments, Home, Furniture & Lighting, Lifestyle & Accessories, Medical & Health, Office & Accessories, Outdoor & Gardens, Packaging, Service Design, Social Impact Design, Sports, Leisure & Recreation, and Student Designs (including any physical or digital product, service, or experience created during collegiate student coursework).
Heading the IDEA Jury group this year is IDSA member and founder of Aplat, Shujan Bertrand. Based in San Francisco, California, Shujan is an advocate for sustainability in design and uses the art of origami principles for zero-waste design and manufacturing in her work. An industrial designer with over 20 years of product design, Shujan will lead a diverse IDEA Jury that includes top designers from Google, Lenovo, Estee Lauder, Astro Studios, Meta, Microsoft, Amazon, Kohler, Smart Design, and more. IDEA 2023 winners will be honored at the IDEA Ceremony & Gala in New York City as part of the International Design Conference 2023 (August 23-25, 2023).
Head to the IDEA Website to submit your entry to this year’s award program, or scroll down to see some of our favorite and notable winners from last year’s awards!
Microsoft Surface Adaptive Kit by Windows and Devices Design Team (Best In Show)
he Microsoft Surface Adaptive Kit is a unique award-winning solution, co-designed with people living with disabilities to help make using and navigating devices easier. The kit comes with four cards containing 40 products, allowing for a broad range of adaptive customizations that create accessible experiences for a wide spectrum of needs. For instance, the label kit can be used to identify important keys, match ports and cables, and open compatible devices and accessories. The kit works with a wide host of devices, making them more accessible, and easier to navigate for all.
Moxie by fuseproject for Embodied (Gold)
Designed by fuseproject for Embodied, the Moxie robot companion helps aid in the social, emotional and cognitive development of 5 to 10-year-olds through play-based learning and teaching turn-taking and eye contact. It introduces emotional intelligence through artificial intelligence, using the anthropomorphic design of a friendly robot to help children get more used to this ‘age of exponential change’, giving them the emotional, social, and cognitive skills they need to navigate a complex, ever-evolving world. Rather than being an ‘assistant’, Moxie takes on the role of a friend that understands its young user and machine-learns in the process to help it be more useful and educational.
Clover Vertica by Starbucks Industrial Design (Gold)
This state-of-the-art coffee machine was designed to handle the peak volumes of coffee requirements at Starbucks stores, all while streamlining the process. It grinds and brews each cup freshly, going from bean to cup in just 30 seconds, while also eliminating paper filters and cutting back on coffee waste. The machine’s full-immersion brewing method pairs vacuum-press technology with precise control over water temperature to extract the best flavor from each roast. It also sports a modular design, with two ‘towers’ that can handle multiple orders at once and can even accommodate seasonal recipes/brews and variations.
Syng Cell Alpha by Syng (Gold)
Created by an ex-Apple designer, the Syng Cell Alpha is a high-end speaker with an oddly alluring design that looks like a music-pumping UFO. Touted as the world’s first ‘Triphonic Speaker’, the Cell Alpha sports two subwoofers, facing upwards and downwards, while the equator of this spherical speaker houses its triphone, or three horn-shaped audio drivers that project sound in 360°, filling your entire room with waves of high-fidelity sound.
Osmo Evaporative Refrigerator by Rose Kirby (Bronze – Student)
The Osmo Evaporative Refrigerator is a clever low-tech ceramic vessel that ‘refrigerates’ food without electricity. Its double wall features a water reservoir that creates a cool, humid environment through evaporative cooling, ideal for storing fruits and vegetables. Through the occasional simple interaction of refilling the reservoir, users develop a continual awareness of and connection with the foods they eat, increasing the likelihood that their food will be eaten before it spoils,” says designer Rose Kirby. Moreover, the visual presence of the Osmo on your kitchen countertop invites you to continuously observe it and the food inside it, reminding you of what you’re refrigerating so that you don’t forget about it the way you’d forget about food left in the back of your refrigerator.
OZEV EV Chargepoint by PA Consulting (Bronze)
Proposed by the UK government in the run-up to the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow, the OZEV EV charger hopes to be as iconic as the country’s legendary black taxi-cab, while ushering in an era of electrification. “The UK government saw an opportunity to raise awareness and generate excitement about the role design can play in helping people make the switch to zero-emissions vehicles”, say the designers at PA Consulting and the Royal College of Art’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV). The charger’s designer is practical yet highly alluring, with a form language that feels instantly memorable. It also uses the same black design language as the taxi-cab, albeit with the judicious use of golden to make the EV charger look even more desirable and high-end.
HTC VIVE Flow by Kuen Chang, Natalia Amijo, Ian Mcgillivray, Chris Chen, and Ethan Wang (Silver)
The VIVE Flow is a lightweight, immersive glasses device that’s designed to help people nurture their minds, relax, have fun, and go with the ‘flow’. It offers an all-in-one extended-reality solution for improved mindfulness and well-being, gaming, and socializing. Its pancake lenses with dual hinge architecture plus soft face gasket enable it to fold into a small size while accommodating various head shapes and sizes. Moreover, adjustable diopters for each eye let users find their ideal viewing spot quickly, while its active cooling system draws heat away from the face to ensure comfort during use.
Smell Revived by Yuting Wang (Silver – Student)
A multi-award-winning VR experience, Smell Revived helps people re-train their sense of smell while on their path to recovery from Covid. The virtual-reality-based training system uses a piece of hardware that straps to your collar, and pairs with a VR program that uses smell-training to help patients with smell dysfunction, such as parosmia and anosmia. By using virtual reality, it provides multisensorial stimulation, which helps patients retrain their brain and nose to recognize smells. This makes the therapy process more enjoyable, stimulating, and successful as users are able to explore virtual settings while wearing a device that emits the relevant odors, without leaving a confined space (which helps with the Covid disease containment too).
Neto Water Filter Bag by Luke Wightman (Gold – Student)
The Neto Water Filter Bag is a revolutionary solution for providing clean, portable drinking water for backpacking and off-the-grid living. Powered by gravity, it utilizes wood discs made from sapwood xylem tissue to filter out contaminants, bacteria, and viruses in a way that’s far cheaper (up to 100x) than more common methods that use ultrafilter membranes. The process involves slicing tree branches into cross-sectional discs which are then treated with a natural chemical process that allows them to last two years in storage. “The resulting innovation overcomes several environmental issues while using natural and renewable resources,” mentions Luke Wightman, the designer.
Skrolla by Dan Harden (Bronze)
Designed by Dan Harden of Whipsaw, the Skrolla is a lounge chair with a distinct aesthetic that only uses 6 pieces of wood that come together to form the 4-legged seating apparatus. Its unique, eye-catching design features a single scroll-shaped seat and arm, a backrest, and four legs, which are each formed from 13 layers of plywood-veneer. The legs emerge right from underneath the curved armrest, cutting through it as the armrest creates a C-shaped pattern to merge into the seat of the Skrolla. This leg-attachment method ensures the legs remain firmly in place, eliminating the requirement for additional bracing. The backrest curves around and meets the opening in the scroll at the rear, where it is then mortised into the back legs.
Click Here to Enter the IDEA Awards Now: Regular Entry closes on February 26, 2023 (11:59 pm EST).