The International Design Excellence Awards Are Amazing.

One of the great things I get to do is announce the winners of the Industrial Designers Society annual design awards and this year they are especially wonderful. Judge for yourself and move through all the slide shows discussing the winners.

This year the student designs were truly remarkable. The Best In Show choice of the jury went to a University of Cincinnati student, J. Ryan Eder for his concept of exercise equipment that works for wheel-chair bound people as well as fully-abled folks. The case study on this is really good. In fact, there was a lot of universal design in this year’s winners.

Eco design was super big, and there were winners ranging from the Tesla all-electric sportscar to the Herman Miller/fuseproject LEAF lamp—and many others. There’s a big debate within the design community about responsibility for building stuff that kills the planet. The IDEA in 2007 has stuff designed so they don’t. Eco-design is a big trend that will only be bigger. Corporations must understand this. The US culture has changed and is going green fast, especially among the young. Green design in everything is the future.

There is also a big name change in the contest this year that reflects the globalization of the design scene. Notice that the IDEA is no longer the “Industrial” Design Excellence Awards. It is now the “International” Design Excellence Awards. Is it time for the Industrial Designers Society of America itself to think about a name change as well?

There were 595 entries in 2007 from 29 countries and 1,096 US entries in 2007. Design teams from Europe and Asia took a big percentage of the prizes. And overseas design schools did especially well. Korean design schools produced a lot of winners and so did Continental European schools.

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