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GOOD DESIGN Awards 2013

GOOD DESIGN™ Awards 2013

I was recently honored to be one of five jurors for the 2013 GOOD DESIGN Awards. Founded in 1950 by Eero Saarinen, Charles Eames and Ray Eames, GOOD DESIGN is “the oldest and most prestigious awards program for the best world design.” GOOD DESIGN is organized annually by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design in cooperation with the European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies. Entries are submitted annually by various industrial design and graphic design firms working with Fortune 500 companies. One of the main factors for the awards selection is based on whether or not a product can enrich society and people's lives through its design. While I gained insight into several current design themes and trends, connectivity and an increased emphasis on human factors appear to be primary driving forces of today’s design inspiration.

Electronic devices represent a major category of submissions and include solar battery chargers, wireless speaker systems, universal remotes, network hubs, PC/tablets and everything in between. The ability to “connect” via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or cellular networks is a recurring theme in just about every product category. Connectivity is enabling communications that monitor and control a dramatically increasing number of activities in the home, office, as well as vital functions within manufacturing and transportation organizations.As evidenced by the 2013 GOOD DESIGN Awards, the requirement to connect, collaborate, and collect shows no signs of slowing and will continue to be a dominate feature focus for the foreseeable future.

Additionally, an increasingly important focus is being placed on ethnography, human factors, or in short, usability. It is obvious that great care has been taken by each GOOD DESIGN participant to deliver an intuitive, commonsense solution to user needs and desires. While many products may provide similar technology and features, the manner in which each enables users to interact and access its full potential provides a unique experience and market differentiation. Technology continues to knock down barriers and disrupt conventional thinking. However, looking beyond early adopters enabling a greater number to access and utilize these technologies truly provides the ability to discover new means of productivity and efficiency resulting in greater user satisfaction and ROI.

We have seen amazing product evolution during the information age. However, it is my belief that we will see some of the greatest innovative ideas and designs of our time flourish from a more cohesive relationship between technology and human factors. I was delighted to see this evolution at play while participating as a juror for the 2013 GOOD DESIGN Awards. Being subjected to such a great number of products developed by outstanding people and organizations was greatly beneficial.  As a member of the product development community, the exposure to new technology, usability, and market trends provides greater insight into directing products and services aligned with our own clients and users. 

The voting tabulations for 2013 are complete and the winners can be found on the Museum’s website: http://www.chi-athenaeum.org/gdesign/. Please feel free to drop us a line at www.hlb.com with any of your own ideas or thoughts.


Ford Pearson, President of HLB, LLC