iPhone, WWI Museum, Aerodynamic Golf Umbrella Among IDEA08 Winners

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The iPhone continues its sweep of design laurels, adding a 2008 International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) to its sleek, milky white trophy case. BusinessWeek and the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) have announced the 34 other Gold award winners along with 77 Silver and 93 Bronze award winners chosen from 1,517 entries received. For the first time in the competition’s history, 389 finalists have been named in addition to the winners, and the esteemed jury named two designs “Best in Show”: the iPhone (natch) and SizeChina, a design research project that created the first-ever digital database of Chinese head and face shapes. Something tells us that a SizeChina iPhone application is in the works.

Other IDEA08 Gold winners include the National World War I Museum designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, noted by juror Barbara Flanagan for its use of “emotional drama—theatrical lighting, poignant artifacts, plenty of dirt—to elicit the ethical questions we keep forgetting to ask.” The sole Gold winner in the personal acccessories category was the SENZ XL storm umbrella, an asymmetrical golf umbrella that is windproof up to 70 MPH. Other Gold winners included a welding helmet that automatically darkens to protect the wearer’s eyes, the ingenious but difficult to describe EVA Solo trash bin, and the book Design for Democracy: Ballot + Election Design.


In addition to Apple, DECATHLON of France, EVA DENMARK, Motorola, and One Laptop Per Child were the top corporate winners. Among design firms, IDEO captured seven awards while fuseproject, Whipsaw, and Ziba won five, four, and four awards, respectively. Art Center College of Design topped the list of college wins with a total of four awards. For more on the awards, see the BusinessWeek IDEA report, now on newssstands, or the upcoming fall “Yearbook of Design Excellence” issue of IDSA’s quarterly magazine, Innovation.