With record entry numbers, extensive testing procedures and exciting discussions, the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2020 saw the jury convene in the Ruhr region at the beginning of March in order to award the year’s best products. The roughly 40 experts were met with a diverse selection of entries, with more products submitted to the competition in 2020 than ever before. The jurors scrutinised the entries and discussed them at length. From the objects submitted, they selected only those that won them over with their outstanding design quality to win an award. With the introduction of the two metacategories “Smart Products” and “Innovative Products”, there was a special focus on revolutionary designs this year.
Entry figures reach record high
Designers and companies entered more than 6,500 products in the Red Dot Award: Product Design in 2020. This constitutes a rise of approximately 18 percent in entry numbers compared to the prior year. The participants in the competition came from 60 countries, five more than in 2019. Juror Simon Husslein, founder of the workshop of the same name, praised the diverse selection on show in the Red Dot Judging Hall: “We have discovered fantastic products here. When you go through the aisles and see all kinds of objects, the quantity is really overwhelming. These include some top-class products that stand out, and it is incredibly good fun to identify those products and give them an award.”
Intensive examination of products and exciting discussion
The adjudication process spanning several days was based on two fundamental criteria: an intensive examination of the products and an open discussion among the jurors. The experts tested all of the entries in order to assess not just the aesthetic but also the materials selected, the level of craftsmanship, the surface structure, ergonomics and functionality. This meant that they rode the bicycles and drove the vehicles entered, tested knives by cutting vegetables and tried out the juicers live on site. Among other things, jury member Adriana Monk, founder of design studio Monk Design, tested the cars and motorcycles at the airport in Essen/Mülheim: “As a true product designer, I always think you have to look at form and function. The fact that we get to drive these vehicles is incredibly important, because it gives you a chance to really feel what the car looks like.”
The fact that the experts come from all over the globe and from different specialist areas means that lively discussions ensue. These are essential, as the jurors must reach a group decision in order to award a distinction. True to the motto “In search of good design and innovation”, only the best designs receive an award.
Only 1.2% of entries receive Red Dot: Best of the Best
The jury awarded the highest distinction in the competition to just 76 products. The Red Dot: Best of the Best, which recognises the best objects in a category, thus only went to 1.2% of entries – an indication of their groundbreaking design quality. In addition, 1,644 designs won the Red Dot, a distinction for high design quality.
“I want to congratulate the award winners sincerely on their wonderful success in the Red Dot Award: Product Design. It’s always impressive to observe how the jurors try out the products in detail and sometimes end up in heated debates. It’s not easy to win those debates. So I can say with absolute confidence that the award-winning products are of top-class quality,” said Professor Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of Red Dot.
A focus on smart and innovative products
This year, participants had the option to register their products in the metacategories “Smart Products” or “Innovative Products” for the first time. From Apple, Acer and Braun to FUJIFILM, hansgrohe and Honda as well as Philips and Robert Bosch Hausgeräte, reputable brands presented their progressive designs as part of this novel development. Apple in particular took a leading position in the new metacategories: the US company received a total of four Red Dot: Best of the Best distinctions in these categories – for the iPhone 11 Pro, the AirPods Pro, the Mac Pro and the Pro Display XDR.
Furthermore, the smart locking solution “Linus®”, manufactured by Yale and designed by Fuseproject, won a Red Dot. The product offers users a whole new sense of security: they can lock and unlock the door, grant guests keyless entry and check who is going in and out. The automatic unlocking function ensures that the door opens as soon as the user approaches. The intelligent product equally won over the jury with its modern, streamlined language of form.
The jurors also awarded a Red Dot: Best of the Best in the metacategory “Innovative Products” to transport robot “gita”. The hands-free carrier from Piaggio Fast Forward carries its user’s luggage or office supplies, for example, and follows along behind. The robot can avoid all obstacles using a 360-degree camera and sensors that scan the surroundings. The carrier’s large wheels also ensure that it can move quickly.
Publication of the award-winning product
Whether functional, aesthetic, smart or innovative, these and other products will be presented in the online exhibition on the Red Dot website from 22 June 2020. The exhibition will offer interested parties detailed descriptions, easy-to-understand images and further information on the designers and manufacturers. The winning products will also be on show in the Red Dot Design Museum Essen from that date. The Red Dot Design Yearbook 2020/2021 comes out in July 2020.
Results of the competition at a glance
• Entries: more than 6,500
• Countries taking part: 60
• Red Dot: Best of the Best: 76
• Red Dot: 1,644