Product designers face up to the toughest choice of the year: red dot design award honours international excellence

In the field of product design there are many rankings; but now, the results of the probably toughest design contest are on hand: The jury sessions of the “red dot award: product design 2011” have ended. Since today it is known who was able to stand up to the top international comparison and which companies are allowed to adorn their innovations with the renowned “red dot” – and whose products will be presented as exhibits in the red dot design museum as of 5 July 2011.

Even though the 18 product groups, which are admitted to the “red dot award: product design”, may vary greatly, one trend applies to almost all branches this year: The number of the participants has increased again and the internationality of the biggest competition for product design has expanded. Many thousands of high-tech objects and imaginative everyday objects from more than 60 nations – from Algeria to the United States – could be registered for the “red dot award: product design 2011”. For the first time, Nepal and Belarus are among the participants.

In particular, the sectors of the IT industry, telecommunications, and consumer electronics attracted attention as there were far more product submissions than in the previous years. The jury consisted of 36 experts – a number, which has never been reached before. During a process, which lasted several days, they examined as many as 4,433 products. Once more it became clear that intelligent product design creates sense and sensuality in almost all sizes and forms – from the small, innovative paper clip to the extremely heavy wheel loader.

“Good design cannot be overestimated for business success,” explains Professor Dr. Peter Zec, initiator and president of the competition, well established for decades. “It is the obvious and appealing design of a product that creates a direct, intuitive connection with the consumer. But design can do much more: It links the user to the product and the brand alike; it creates confidence in quality performances; and in the best of cases, it demonstrates the responsibility of the manufacturer towards his clients, the environment, and all those involved in the production process. Only those who design their products in an exemplary way will be awarded in the red dot design award and can refer to this outstanding distinction with justified pride.”

Also this year, accolades in three award categories were assigned: Beside the “red dot” seal of quality for outstanding product design, the recognition “honourable mention” stands for remarkable detailed solutions. Furthermore, highest design quality will be rewarded with the rare distinction “red dot: best of the best”. This year only 1.3 per cent of all submissions have been awarded this prize. Other awards were only given to one in five products submitted; nearly 80 per cent of all participants left empty-handed. On the other hand, ten young talents may be pleased: Their excellent works were convincing and they were offered special promotion within the scope of the programme “young professionals”. red dot is sponsoring young designers with an excellence package amounting to 25,000 Euro altogether. However, this dream came true for only one in ten applicants.

“The severity of the jury might be surprising in 2011,” said Professor Zec. “For we know that every company that faces up to our competition narrows down its choice and enters the race with its best products only – of course, with the sole aim of obtaining the coveted red dot. But there is a reason why agencies regularly call our award the most important design prize: The credibility and independence of our jury, which carefully evaluates each product, has top priority for us as organisers.” Those who pass this tough selection procedure with distinction should be allowed to celebrate accordingly. The sole and perfect opportunity to do so will be on 4 July 2011: The elaborate ceremony traditionally takes place in the Aalto-Theater in Essen, Germany. It is the highlight of this year’s competition and will be presented by Professor Dr. Peter Zec. The red dot gala, the Winners’ Dinner and the following Designers’ Night in the red dot design museum rightly rank among the most impressive events of the year.