Otl Aicher, one of the most internationally influential graphic designers of the 20th century.
The logo of the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen, designed by Otl Aicher in 1991.
The first "Red Rot" symbol for awards conferred by the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen, designed by Kurt Weidmann in 1994.
The internationally recognised seal of quality for award winning product and communication design: the Red Dot, designed by Peter Schmidt in the year 2000.

Internationalisation: the Red Dot Design Award

In 1992, under the aegis of Peter Zec, the design prize awarded since 1955 gained a face: the “Red Dot”. The name of the award and the competition was born. Quoting the Design Zentrum’s signet designed by Otl Aicher, the Red Dot from then on stood for high and the highest design quality. The first award symbol for the winners of the “Red Dot” competition integrates the signet of the Design Zentrum and the stylised red dot taken from it.

In order to distinguish the competition’s award symbol from the Design Zentrum’s signet, Kurt Weidemann, the doyen of German communication design, reworked the Red Dot symbol in 1994. With the Red Dot, the competition spanned the world. Companies in Asia, North and South America and Europe have since then been entering their industrial products in the competition, and the award-winning products are presented annually in the special “Design Innovations” exhibition.

Increased internationalisation and the convergence of the disciplines of product and communication design finally encouraged the Design Zentrum to unify the brand marks of the two competitions for global use.

What began in Germany as the “Roter Punkt” in Peter Zec’s mind and Otl Aicher’s pen was quickly accepted throughout the world and spawned a host of national variants: “Punto Rosso”, “Point Rouge”, and of course from the outset the “Red Dot”. It proved however difficult to maintain a uniform image for the award and the institution in the international design scene with so many local variants. At the end of the 1990s, it became clear that a single international name would be needed to preserve the identity and profile of the competition.

Systematic development of the “Red Dot” award symbol

For that reason, communication designer Peter Schmidt from Hamburg was commissioned by the Design Zentrum in the year 2000 to provide the competition with an internationally recognisable and coherent brand image.

The new Red Dot was created and systematically developed into a brand. The two competitions for product design and communication design were brought together under the umbrella of the Red Dot Award, and are now continued in the disciplines “Red Dot Award: Product Design” and “Red Dot Award: Communication Design”. The two award symbols, the Red Dot for high design quality and the Red Dot: Best of the Best for the best in each category met with worldwide acceptance immediately.

The new logo was especially striking and dynamic in the new media. Manufacturers and designers use the Red Dot nationally and internationally as a successful communications tool for their award-winning products, positioning themselves as quality and design leaders.