Good Design Award (Chicago)

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The Good Design Awards is an industrial design program 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 for design and innovation, sustainability, creativity, branding, ecologically responsible design, human factors, materials, technology, graphic arts, packaging, and universal design are submitted annually by various industrial design and graphic design firms working for the Fortune 500 companies. All products and graphics must be designed, in production or manufactured for at least 2 years before the contest title year. One of the main factors for the awards selection is based on whether a product can enrich society and people's lives through its design. For example, over 700 of these awards have been given in 2012 by a New York jury of design experts, representing the work of thousands of designers and industries that create design and manufacturing in 48 countries.

Approximately 40,000 Good Design Awards have been given since the inception of the award in 1950.


These U.S. federally trademarked awards were founded in Chicago in 1950 by four architects: Eero Saarinen, Charles and Ray Eames and Edgar Kaufmann, Jr.. The black dot-shaped logo was designed the same year by the late Chicago graphic designer, Mort Goldsholl. The Good Design Awards aim to give international recognition for some designers and manufacturers when they devise innovative products, through invention and originality, beyond what is considered ordinary product and consumer design. These awards are not to be confused with the "g-mark" operated by the Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization. With the Red dot design award and the IF product design award, it is perhaps one of the most important international product design awards. This ensures winners good press coverage in the industry.[note 1][note 2][note 3][note 4]

The annual Good Design Awards are organized by the Finnish architect and architecture critic and journalist Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, Museum President and CEO of The Chicago Athenaeum. "Good Design is the singular, international design awards program the entire design and corporate world waits for each year" states Mr. Narkiewicz-Laine. "Hundreds of leading winning manufacturers and Fortune 500 companies print the Good Design logo for awarded their products on their packaging, marketing information, advertising, websites, corporate information, posters, billboards, and branding."[1]

Some observers have criticized this kind of design award for being only aimed at boosting manufacturers' marketing. For example, Barbara Usherwood writes: "the design of the physical form is only one element within this environment, the parts of which must all work effectively to achieve the value of good or bad product design. Selected aspects of the product's environment should not merit good design awards if the environment as a whole is deficient in specific aspects."[2]

In 2009, the Green Good Design Awards began providing for a more environment-oriented type of selection of products, organizations and people. For instance, the Kingdom of Sweden and the Architect Stefan Behnisch were awarded.[3] This new award system will follow onto 2010 and beyond. [note 5]

Some categories of entries[edit]

See also[edit]