The International Design Excellence Awards or IDEA® is a premier international design competition, recognizing and promoting design excellence across a wide array of industries and disciplines conducted annually by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). Each year extraordinary designers, students and companies submit their designs to a jury of renowned experts. Entrants do not need to be members of IDSA to participate. The best of the best win IDEA and are recognized as shining examples of design excellence. Winning entries are displayed in design exhibits and publications throughout the year, receive worldwide recognition and are honored with a place in the permanent collection of The Henry Ford Museum.


Benefits of Winning

IDEA winners receive significant, international publicity and exposure. In contrast to many other design awards, most of the associated perks of winning an IDEA are included with your entry fee. In addition to our media partners' announcement of the winners, hundreds of print and online media networks pick up IDEA winners' stories each year. IDSA's annual Yearbook of Design Excellence, featuring in-depth coverage of the Gold winners and a complete listing of all honorees, is distributed internationally to business executives, business schools, federal officials and designers.

  • Publicity + Exposure + Recognition
  • Winners become part of the permanent collection of The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI
  • Coverage in IDSA's online gallery of winners
  • Trophies for both GOLD and SILVER winners (Additional trophies may be purchased separately)
  • Gold, Silver and Bronze winners are included in IDSA's INNOVATION Yearbook  (Full-color image and description). Finalists have the opportunity to purchase ‘featured’ positions in both the yearbook and on the IDSA website.
  • Copy of the INNOVATION Yearbook for Gold, Silver and Bronze winners. (Note: All IDSA members automatically receive a copy with membership)
  • Exhibition of IDEA winners at IDSA's International Conference (space permitting), excluding shipping & handling for products not previously sent to the final judging round.
  • License to display IDEA winner logo on winning product's website, packaging, advertising and merchandising materials.
  • Attendance at the Awards Ceremony at IDSA's International Conference.
  • IDEA Party after the ceremony is approximate ($250). This cost is, however, is already included if registered for the entire conference.


Judging Criteria

IDEA judging is based on the following criteria of Design Excellence. A winning design meets most of these criteria in a positive manner, category dependent.

  • Design Innovation - How is this design unique or innovative compared to other designs in this category?
  • Benefit to the User - How does this design benefit the intended user through its performance, comfort, safety, ease of use, affordability, etc.?
  • Benefit to the Client - How does this design improve the client or manufacturer's profitability, brand reputation, employee morale, etc.?
  • Benefit to Society - How does this design benefit the greater good; consider society, the environment, culture, the economy, etc.?
  • Appropriate Aesthetics - The judges will use the provided visual materials (photos and optional video) to assess this category dependent criteria.


Key Dates

January 4, 2016 IDEA 2016 open for entry
January 4 – March 18, 2016 Regular entry period
March 19 – April 1, 2016 Late entry period
April 6 – April 29, 2016 Online jurying; Round 1
May 4, 2016 Finalist notification
May 27, 2016 Application to Round 2 and fee deadline
May 27, 2016 Final delivery date to The Henry Ford
June 3-6, 2016 Onsite jurying at The Henry Ford; Round 2
June 17, 2016 (week of) Bronze winners and Top winners notified
August 17 – 20, 2016 International Conference, Detroit
August 17 IDEA Ceremony (Gold and Silver winners revealed)



IDSA Member  Entry - $325 Late1 - $150 Finalist2 - $425
Non-Member (NM) Entry - $475 Late - $175 Finalist - $525
Student   Entry - $125 Late - $100 Finalist - $125
Student NM Entry - $175 Late - $125 Finalist - $125
1: for entries submitted after the end of the regular entry period
2: if selected to participate in the second round judging