What we can learn from Design Competitions

I always wondered why I never entered design competitions. They are great! They exercise the mind, may win you fame and fortune and even money. Possibly I was wallowing in self-pity or to busy trying to live. Perhaps as my colleague, who shall be known as “tua_designer”, aptly put “we are all talents but no time!”
Anyways there is a nice little furor of interest in design competitions in the studio that I work at. I must say the most prolific participant of design competitions must be my other collegue “micro_designer”. She has quietly “kicked butt” ninja style by getting herself short listed for one recently. Kudos!
So here are some cool design competitions to enter:
Design boom’s Shelter in a cart
2006 Taiwan International Design Competition Theme Nomad
Also check out the winning entry of Design Within Reach’s Champagne Chair competition.

It is truly a beautiful piece of art, and a forehead slapping, wonderful solution to a problem. I love to look at winning designs and what I can learn form them. So are down right odd, and I wondered “huh what happened?” However the truly great winning designs I would call it a “Doh!” solution. Homer Simpson style.
That’s what we designers should always strive for. Obtaining that elusive BIG “Doh!” solution. We have tackled many a design briefs, and in many case come up with countless of concept solutions. But the best solution is the most logical one. The beauty of this “Doh!” solution lies in that it fulfills all aspects of the brief, and has a form that is beautiful, unique, usable, manufacturing viable, and basically just RIGHT!
The great thing about us designers is that we know it when we see it. Well at least I hope we do?

2 Comments
  • niblettes

    February 12, 2006 at 10:13 am Reply

    Don’t be too down on yourself for not having won any design competitions.
    I worked with a crusty old ad guy many years ago when I thought all ads should be like a nike’s. He explained to me that there are ads that win awards, and there are ads that win customers. They are never the same, and our job was to win customers.
    I think this applies even more to design. Our job is not self-expression. Our job is not to win the adulation of other designers. Our job to help understand and solve problems people experience.
    So if you’re helping to solve real problems for real people instead of entering design competitions, hold your head sir–you’re a credit to your profession.

  • Design Translator

    May 11, 2006 at 12:22 pm Reply

    Hi Nibletts,
    Great advice and thanks for your support!

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