New prize honors design's societal impact

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The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) has announced its first Design of the Decade award, which will recognize design's impact on business and society.

Together with US landmark, The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, and design magazine, Fast Company, jury members hailing from companies including Coca-Cola as well as design consultancies such as Birsel + Seck will determine what designs from the decade spanning January 2000 to December 2009 are worthy of one of their gold, silver, or bronze recognitions.

"As an awards program, the Design of the Decade competition is special," said the IDSA's CEO, Clive Roux, "because it recognizes the social impact that design has on our society as well as the significant and growing influence that design has on business.

"In deepening our focus and widening our aperture to span a decade, we provide the jurors with a sufficiently long period of time to better evaluate and more fully appreciate the longer term impact of design. To more effectively illuminate the lasting imprints and often subtle but important effects of design, we have radically redefined the categories as well."

These forward-thinking categories include, among others, 'Solution to a developed/developing world social problem,' 'Most responsible design solution,' 'Most successful integration of new technology,' and 'Best example of design raising margins (causing a consumer to part with their money).' All entries will be judged on the criteria of  their benefit to society, the business, and the consumer, innovation, responsibility (social, economic, environmental, cultural), and their visual appeal - after all, it's still design we're talking about.

All winners will be featured in Fast Company and become part of the permanent collections at The Henry Ford Museum. The deadline for entries is August 28.