Our design director, Britt Ashcraft, had the honor of being chosen as one of the jurors for the 2018 Spring Spark Design Awards.
This year saw many different talented entries across a broad scope of industries but only a few could win. It was a difficult decision but amidst intense deliberation, the select few were chosen and the winners will be announced soon. There was good debate across each of the jurors about the merits of each product and its relevance to design and the spark awards selection criteria.
It was great being a part of the team that helped judge, thanks to Scot Herbst (Herbst Produkt), Harnish Jani (BCG Global Ventures), Sasha Tseng (Sashapure), Klaus Tritschler (BMW Designworks), Peter Kuchniki (Spark), Mike Nuttall (IDEO), Tom White (Los Angeles Cleantech Initiative) and John Guenther (HP).
The Spark Awards have two major guiding criteria:
1. Does the design Spark? Break new ground? Is it a new idea? Creation or refinement? Does it communicate well? Are the graphics clear and compelling? Does it pop?
2. Does it improve the quality of life? Contribute to understanding, efficiency, joy, longevity, progress? Does it sustain or conserve our Earth’s limited resources?
Spark’s mission is to initiate positive design-led change, by highlighting the best new ideas and the best new solutions. Sparks are big ideas embodied as great designs. The key questions asked of each submission are:
Inventiveness and Innovation
Does the design “stretch the envelope” and enhance the human experience in a tangible way?
Everything of question and of importance in 21st–century design: footprint, toxicity of manufacturing or materials, landfill afterlife, effect on atmospheric warming, recycled raw materials, energy consumption, educational value and so forth. How environmentally sustainable is the design, from manufacturing through packaging to use and final disposal?
Elegance and Beauty
Whether classic or modern, symmetrical or no, ah or aha! Does the design send you?
Suitability to Purpose
How well does the design perform its function—and work? Is it efficient, economical, essential?
Does the design fit the system? Does it mesh well and extend, achieving more than the concept alone?
Is the design’s life span appropriate to its usage and good sustainable practice?
Discovery and Implementation
What was the design strategy? How was progress measured? Was the process itself innovative? Was the process multidisciplinary? Did the design sell or fulfill its goals?
Safety and Ergonomics
Is it safe and user friendly? How well does the design suit a wide (and appropriate) range of users?
Does the design fit the use (and user) naturally and easily, with a low learning curve? Does it communicate clearly and efficiently?
Does the design help create feeling? Joy, delight, pleasure, inspiration or reverence?
Does the design contribute in significant ways to overarching societal goals?
Is it truly design that makes a difference?