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The 2011 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA)

The IDEA (International Design Excellence Awards) program is the premier international competition honoring design excellence in products, ecodesign, interaction design, packaging, strategy, research and concepts. Entries are invited from designers, students and companies worldwide.

Starting 1 December 2010, the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) is accepting entries to its 2011 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) program.

Winning entries receive coverage in hundreds of print and broadcast media networks around the world. IDSA has been honoring design excellence via the IDEA Awards since 1980. IDEA was formerly known as the Industrial Design Excellence Awards.


For over 30 years, IDEA has recognized design excellence in products, sustainability, interaction design, packaging, strategy, research and concepts. The awards program honors new products so submissions must have been placed in distribution between February 2009 and February 2011.

IDEA accepts entries in the following categories:

  • Industry Segments:
    • Commercial and Industrial Products
    • Communication Tools
    • Computer Equipment
    • Entertainment
    • Environments
    • Home Living
    • Leisure and Recreation
    • Medical and Scientific Products
    • Office and Productivity
    • Personal Accessories
    • Service Design
    • Transportation
  • Design Segments:
    • Design Strategy
    • Interactive Product Experiences
    • Packaging and Graphics
    • Student Designs
    • Research

A panel of independent design experts uses the following criteria in selecting winning designs:

  • Innovation (design, experience, manufacturing)
  • Benefit to the user (performance, comfort, safety, ease of use, usability, user interface, ergonomics, universal function and access, quality of life, affordability)
  • Benefit to society, environment, culture and economy
  • Benefit to the client (profitability, increased sales, brand reputation, employee morale)
  • Visual appeal and appropriate aesthetics
  • In the Design Research Category: insights (usability, emotional factors, unmet needs), testing rigor and reliability
  • In the Design Strategy Category: internal factors and methods, strategic value and implementation


IDEA Award winners receive significant international publicity and exposure. Here are some of the most notable benefits from taking part in the IDEA competition:

  • Lifetime coverage in IDSA’s online gallery of winners
  • Gold, Silver and Bronze winner inclusion in IDSA’s Innovation Yearbook (Full-color image and description included; Finalists are also listed.)
  • Copies of the Innovation Yearbook for winners (Note, IDSA members automatically receive one free copy)
  • Exhibition of Gold, Silver and Bronze winners at IDSA’s International Conference (space permitting) (excluding shipping & handling for products not sent to the final judging round)
  • License to display IDEA winner logo on winning product’s packaging, advertising and merchandising materials
  • Attendance at the awards ceremony at IDSA’s International Conference
  • Winners’ ceremony after-party (estimated; these costs are included in most paid conference registrations)
  • Award certificates for each member of the design team.
  • One-of-a-kind trophy for Gold IDEA winners (additional trophies may be purchased separately)


  • The International Design Excellence Awards are open to designs and designers worldwide.
  • Student entries can only be submitted in the Student category, even if the design is in research, production or corporately funded.
  • If your entry didn’t win last year and if the entry still meets all the other criteria it may be resubmitted.
  • Designs may be entered in multiple categories, but each entry must be purchased and submitted separately.

How to enter?

The 2011 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) open for entries on 1 December 2010. Once the Awards are open, visit the official website and submit your entries by filling out the online entry form.

Entry fee

  • IDSA Member – $250 per entry
  • Non-member – $350 per entry
  • Student with ID – $100 per entry
  • Late fee – $150 per entry
    (for entering between 28 January 2011 and 4 February 2011)