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HLB Design For Smith & Nephew Receives Gold IDEA Award

HLB, long known as Herbst LaZar Bell, today was named a Gold winner in the 2008 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) competition. The product strategy, design, and development firm has offices in both Chicago and Boston, and has been a leader in the industry for over 45 years. The IDEA competition is co-sponsored by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) and BusinessWeek.

Out of 1,517 entries, HLB received one of only 35 Gold awards for its work on surgical tools for the Smith & Nephew JOURNEY™ Bi-Cruciate Stabilized Knee System. The tools are used to make complex, precise cuts in the bone, and to take measurements for the actual implanting of an artificial knee or hip.

In its award-winning design, HLB created surgical instruments with stainless steel handle forms for enhanced comfort, and added Silicone over-molds to improve grip while surgical team members wear latex gloves. This design helps reduce the force and physical strain required to maintain a sure grip. The designs were then tested in the operating room, after which the grip was further tested for wet and oily gloved hands, rather than dry, bare hands.

Next, consideration was given to high temperature autoclaving. Large holes were created in the tools to further improve grip, reduce overall weight, and allow for complete drainage during the autoclave cycle. Finally, HLB created the instruments with orange handles, not only to reinforce the Smith & Nephew brand identity, but easy to spot for re-stock.

“The strong formal language of the voids and handle heads instantly communicated the many ways the individual instruments could be better manipulated in the hand. This Smith & Nephew line represents an impressive challenge to the industry standard,” stated Thomas Garvey, Associate Professor, School of Industrial Design, Carleton University (Canada).

The 2008 IDEA selection committee is comprised of 20 world-renowned designers and design thinkers. Judging criteria for each entry is focused on eight areas of industrial design excellence: design innovation; benefit to the user; benefit to the client/business; benefit to society; ecological responsibility; appropriate aesthetics and appeal; usability testing; rigor and reliability (Design Research category); and internal factors and methods, implementation (Design Strategy category).

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