Product design is incredibly important if you hope to make a splash in the market. This is why your hardware startup should be keeping an eye on the top design awards for hardware startups, as someday your products could be featured there, or you can at least get inspiration from the entries.
Often the design of a product is what makes it stand out from the crowd and gives it that initial wow-factor that wakes up the market to your idea. But beyond that, good product design should make your creation more enjoyable to use, more practical, and more efficient. Bringing all these elements together is a huge challenge, but the payoff is great.
There are many different awards and organizations that celebrate the importance of product design, and covet the most perfectly designed items on the market. If you’re looking for some inspiration in your own design, or you just love examples of great designs, then following these design awards for startups is a great idea. And you never know, it might be worth nominating your own product for one.
The Red Dot Award
The Red Dot Award is a design award that has been running since 1954, and one that has grown to become one of the most recognized competitions of its kind. On top of the main award, there is also a ‘concept/prototype award’ and a ‘communication design award’. The prize is awarded by the Design Zentrum Nordhrhein Westfalen, in Essen Germany, and in 2014, there were over 15,500 submissions from 70 different countries.
Some examples of winners over recent years include the ‘Cutting Ruler’ from Holtz Office Support GmbH, the ‘Xiaomi Piston Earphones 3.0’ from 1more Inc., and the ‘Xtreme sun lounger’ from Boxmark Leather d.o.o.
Unravelling what makes a winner special, let’s take a quick look at the Xiaomi Piston Earphones. At first glance they look just like regular earphones, but they have a metal-composite diaphragm which makes them capable of more powerful bass and a higher frequency range. The plugs themselves are ergonomically designed for a comfortable fit, while Kevlar coated wire prevents the cables from coming apart.
The jury had this to say about them:
“These in-ear headphones have an unobtrusive and functional appearance. They offer everything music lovers need for everyday use.”
So perhaps not what you were expecting for the winners of a prestigious design award? They certainly didn’t reinvent the wheel; what they did do is handle the basics very well. Great design is unobtrusive and doesn’t have to mean coming up with something gimmicky. In fact, normally it doesn’t.
You can learn more about the Red Dot awards at red-dot.de.
The iDSA, or International Design Excellence Awards, conducts a number of awards that recognize design excellence. Their awards are aimed more at the designers themselves, and revolve around nominating selected organizations and individuals for notable results, or creative and innovative concepts.
They do also feature products. 2015 saw Team CHI’s BLACKLINE Bicycle win Gold in response to a specific challenge to design the ultimate urban utility bike. Learn more here.
London Design Week Awards
This event held in London is open to designers from all disciplines, including interior designers, product designers, and packaging designers. Categories span a number of different areas as you would imagine, but up for the product design award for 2015 are companies like Apple (for the MacBook), and Nest Labs (with their Nest Learning Thermostat). You can see the full list here.
Other contests and awards include the likes of the Drum Design Awards and the International Product Design Awards. Check out their websites, and the products they feature, for some truly inspirational examples of great design, and hopefully you’ll come away with some fresh ideas and a new direction for your own products.
Are there any other design awards for startups that we’ve missed here, but that deserve a mention? What are the best products you’ve seen win prizes at these awards?
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