For over sixty years, the iF Design Awards have honored some truly astounding feats of art and design from every corner of the world, receiving over 5,000 submissions from 70 countries each year. The ceremonies have always striven toward six fundamental goals: to identify and promote good design, to raise public awareness of contemporary design, to help companies integrate design into their long-term strategies, to support talented youth and create a public platform for aspiring designers, to safeguard the roles of working professionals, and to effect social change through the art of design.
On March 10th, a panel of 58 experts from 19 countries welcomed 2,000 people to the 2017 awards ceremony at the BMW Welt in Munich, Germany. 75 designers took home gold awards for their outstanding work in the fields of product design, communication design, packaging design, service design, interior architecture, and professional concept.
The winning projects range from the ultra lightweight, carbon-fiber “LessThanFive” chair to the life-changing “Assistant Glasses Set”—which uses hearing aids to help the deaf visually interpret sounds—to an app that helps you find your way around London’s Tate Britain and Tate Modern galleries. All 75 award recipients will have their projects added to the online World Design Guide, which features every one of the almost 40,000 winning designs from the last 64 years. Winning entries will also go on to join their predecessors as parts of a year-long exhibition in Hamburg’s HafenCity, on display from March 11th, 2017 to February 18th, 2018.
iF’s HafenCity exhibit will also showcase the winners of their Design Talent Awards, which, according to the company, aim “to put good designs by young people in the spotlight and connect future designers with business owners, established designers, and each other.”
iF has come a long way since its inception in 1953. Founded in a post-war Berlin at a time when Germany was trying to re-establish itself as one of the world’s industrial powerhouses, it was an organization committed first and foremost to “Die Gute Industrieform,” or good industrial form. Inspired by the Bauhaus movement and its insistence on “good form,” the company eventually shortened their name to “industrial form” (hence iF) and began their efforts to show the public the extent to which design could improve daily life. iF provided a positive way for Germany to reconnect with the rest of the world: by stressing the importance and efficiency of German art and innovation. Today, their website reads, ”The iF Design Award has long become a symbol for excellent form, for aesthetic quality, and for user-focused, ergonomic and efficient design in all disciplines, by companies around the world.”
Any companies, design studios, organizations, NGOs, groups, or individuals interested in changing society through good design can now enter the contest to win iF’s Social Impact Prize 2017. Each contestant has a chance of winning 50,000 euros and of having their project immortalized in the company’s prestigious World Design Guide. The contest doesn’t require any kind of entry fee and is open to all except students.