The International Design Excellence Awards are considered to be the most prestigious design accolade in the world. The year 2020 marks the 40th edition of the award program, conducted by the Industrial Designers Society of America. Originally conceived to reward industrial design, the award has blossomed into one of the biggest interdisciplinary design awards with a 4-decade long, illustrious legacy. IDEA winners include both exceptional design students and designers from world-class brands like Google, Samsung, Logitech, LG, and many more.
Currently in its 40th year, IDEA 2020 aims to recognize and reward exemplary products and services that encourage, inspire, and push the industry forward. Each year, the awards program sees some of the most eminent figures in the design industry come together to form the IDEA jury. This year’s panel will be led by Jonah Becker, IDSA, VP of Design at Fitbit.
The International Design Excellence Awards have gradually branched out to cover all industries and aspects of design, from Automotive Design to Medical Design, Furniture, Consumer Technology, Packaging Design, Branding, Design for Social Impact, and even Service Design. IDEA also commits to rewarding student work with its Student Design category, putting young designers on par with top industry leaders and design studios. IDEA winners receive the highly coveted, puzzle-shaped IDEA trophy on stage at the IDEA Ceremony & Gala, this year in Seattle, WA on Sept. 14 as part of the International Design Conference. The winning works also are permanently housed in the Henry Ford Museum, where they remain ever-present symbols of ingenuity and mastery of craft. IDEA-winning designs are published in the annual Yearbook of Design Excellence issue of INNOVATION magazine, on IDSA’s website and social media channels, and on popular design blogs and websites (much like ours!). Above all, IDEA winners go on to become some of the most talked-about and shared designs around the world.
Head down to look at some of the top designs that won IDEAs in 2019. You can submit your own work to IDEA 2020 by visiting their website below. Entries are open until March 16, 2020. Hurry!
01. Essentia by Genesis Design Center
Best described as one of the most cutting-edge automotive designs we’ve seen in a while, the Genesis Essentia concept is an all-electric high-performance concept car that embodies “Athletic Elegance”. The car comes with a spectacular windshield that goes all the way from the hood to the front, over to the top, and right to the back, giving the riders on the inside a pristine, panoramic view of their surroundings. The car even comes with a carbon-fiber monocoque that uses a diamond-like infill pattern on the inside to add strength without weight. Designed to dominate roads and hearts, this all-electric stallion could go from 0 to 60 in 3 seconds.
02. MX Vertical Mouse by Logitech
Arguably one of the most iconic ergonomic mice (mouses?) of our time, the Logitech MX Vertical’s design is inspired by the handshake. Designed to be as comfortable as gripping someone’s hand, the MX Vertical’s form tilts at a precise 57° angle that’s both comfortable to use as well as productivity-boosting, allowing you to work for hours without feeling any strain whatsoever.
03. Helm Personal Server by New Deal Design
This small custom-built server gives you autonomy over your data. Designed to sit within your own home, the Helm is a private server that connects to a user’s home or small-office network and sends, receives, and manages email, contacts, and calendars, and even photos. Designed by New Deal Design for Helm, the showpiece-worthy server looks nothing like a piece of tech, but is a powerful privacy-protecting tool. It takes a mere 3 minutes to set up, and even features a stackable design that lets you add more servers to the mix. Besides, it literally looks like a roof, echoing its message of security and privacy, and acting as a home for all your data.
04. Tetra Dishwasher by Frog Design for Heatworks
Meet Tetra… a dishwasher that looks more like an aquarium for your crockery! Its unique 3D printer-inspired aesthetic (and countertop-worthy size) makes the Tetra a truly delightful appliance that demystifies the process of washing your dishes. Just lift the clear hood, add your utensils in, close the hood, and get washing. In just 10 minutes, the Tetra can wash anything from dishes, to glassware, to baby bottles, to even food ingredients! Extra points for that beautiful water-inspired detail on the top of the clear hood!
05. EDGE Travel kit by Cho Yonghun, Lee Taekkyung, Park Chanhong
Combining a hairdryer and an iron into a single product is, in itself, an idea worthy of an award! The EDGE uses a single air-heating electrical component in two ways, allowing you to dry your hair as well as swiftly iron your clothes by simply switching attachments. How incredibly ingenious!
06. Zip-Top Reusable Containers by Rebecca Finell
Arguably the biggest food-storage innovation since Tupperware, the Zip-Top is a zip-lock bag made out of silicone. This simple but revolutionary material-swap makes it infinitely reusable, non-toxic, fridge-safe, dishwasher-safe, oven-safe, microwave-friendly, and that flat base lets you use the Zip-Top to store everything from snacks to soups. You could literally use the product to sous-vide food too… and here’s the cherry on the cake. The Zip-Tops with the circular base are size-optimized to fit right into the cup-holder in your car!
07. Coat+ by Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute
This regular jacket has an inner expansion mechanism for pregnant women! Realizing that fashion should be more accommodating for women in their maternity period, the designers decided to reinvent the coat so it fits women who are pregnant as well as even after pregnancy. It doesn’t make sense having to buy separate clothes just because you’re expecting a child, only to throw those clothes away after the child is born, right? Coat+ is a coat that women can wear all through their lives! An extra fabric attachment zips to the coat allowing you to expand it… when you don’t need the expandable attachment, you can wear it as a scarf!
08. Molded Pulp Packaging by BenQ
BenQ’s molded pulp packaging tackles multiple problems headfirst. Designed to house delicate appliances like BenQ’s projectors, the molded-pulp packaging does a significantly better job of protecting the items inside than most regular boxes. Made from non-composite molded pulp, the packaging is environmentally-friendly, easy to recycle, and utilizes waste rather than creating any.
09. Lava Me Pro Guitar by Lava Music
The Lava Me Pro guitar comes crafted in single piece, entirely out of carbon fiber. With a curved single-piece construction that goes from body to fretboard without breaking continuity, the Lava Me Pro is undoubtedly strong as well as lightweight. The carbon fiber construction also lends a very unique set of features to a guitar. Aside from making it practically unbreakable and possibly quadrupling its lifespan, it lends a unique timbre to the guitar. Carbon-fiber’s all-graphite construction brings a crystalline and detailed tone to the guitar while also allowing the instrument to have greater acoustic volume.
10. Microplastics Sensing Autonomous Underwater Vehicle by Draper and Sprout Studios
I’ve always maintained that drones should be designed to do what humans either should not do, like rescuing people or fighting fire, or cannot do, like scanning vast bodies of water for microplastic particles that are too small for the human eye to detect. When the Draper is deployed, it skims the top nine meters of the water where most microplastics are located. It then scans for microplastics, tests the water for specific types of particles, and ultimately relays GPS coordinates to its hub, which enables scientists to understand where they are originating from.