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3 Key Trends In This Year’s Red Dot Award: Product Design

The winners in the 2018 edition of the competition have been selected, and in the lead up to the awards ceremony, Red Dot has revealed the key trends emerging in this year’s competition.

  • Kaffeeform Material, designed by Julian Lechner

  • Jurors Prof. Jure Miklav, Prof. Song Kee Hong and NilsToft at the jury session

  • Jury session

  • Jurors Thomas Lockwood and Robin Edman

  • Jurors testing some of the entries. Left: Martin Darbyshire testing the Alfa Romeo Giulia. Right: Adriana Monk testing the Beet Harvester



BY Narelle Yabuka

April 10th, 2018


What are the ingredients of a winning product in the prestigious Red Dot Award: Product Design? “It is becoming much more complex to be successful as products become more connected to our emotional and aspirational ambitions,” says Red Dot juror and design strategist Michael Thomson.

It’s easy to imagine how difficult the jury’s task was. This year they sifted through 6,300 entries from companies and designers in 59 countries to select just 69 ‘Red Dot: Best of the Best’ awards. An indication of the high quality of this year’s entries is that they awarded 1,684 ‘Red Dot’ awards as well as 45 honourable mentions. What did they find? Here are three key trends and a sneak peak at a few of the winners:

 

1. An increased emphasis on quality.

 Thomson noticed a greater breadth of variety within the award categories, and an increasing level of quality. Fellow jury member Thomas Lockwood, an influencer in the field of innovation, sees the improving quality as a sign that companies increasingly define good design as a success factor for staying afloat in the market.

‘Best of the Best’ winner TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Luxury Kit impressed the jury with its modular design, which allows the case, lugs, strap and clasp to be interchanged.

2. Intuitive use for smart products.

In the ‘Smart Home’ field, the jury noticed how technology is becoming more invisible and the ways we use products is becoming more intuitive.

For example, one of the ‘Best of the Best’ winners is Google Home – a smart speaker that also functions as a personal digital assistant to help with day-to-day tasks. It does not have any visible buttons or keys, but instead is operated via an inconspicuous touchscreen. The use of fabric allows the technology to disappear into the background.

3. Innovative and sustainable materials.

Many of the award-winning products feature a combination of innovative and sustainable materials. For example, ‘Best of the Best’ winner Kaffeeform Material, designed by Julian Lechner and submitted to the competition in coffee-cup form, is made from used coffee grounds. Carbon neutral and recyclable, it offers a viable alternative to the use of petroleum-based raw materials.

“We are talking about a product that many of us hold in our hand much too often and for much too short a time in plastic form. With ground-breaking products such as this ecological coffee cup, we are taking a step in the right direction”, explains materials and surfaces expert and juror Katrin de Louw.

 

Who else is among the ‘Best of the Best’ winners this year? Red Dot has released just a handful of names ahead of the 9 July award ceremony at the Aalto-Theater in Essen, Germany: Apple, Bulgari, Canyon Bicycles, Ferrari, Lenovo, LG, Philips, Porsche, Sony and Veryday. With names like that, the line up of wining products is sure to be impressive. Stay tuned!