International Design Excellence Awards

The International Design Excellence Awards—also known as IDEA®—is a premier international design competition sponsored annually by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) and judged by renowned design experts from around the world. Top IDEA winners are featured in IDSA's INNOVATION Magazine: Yearbook of Excellence;; and global media outreach.

The 2016 IDEA Bronze winners will be announced in mid-June. Then, top IDEA winners will be on display in a new exhibit opening July 11 at the iconic Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. IDEA Gold and Silver winners will be announced on August 17 at the 2016 IDEA Ceremony, which is free and open to the public at The Henry Ford. It will be followed by a ticketed, black-tie optional Gala at the museum.


Judging of IDEA 2016 is now in the second round.

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 to an international audience of design and business executives.

Additional Benefits of Being an IDEA Winner

  • Publicity–International press exposure of close to 500,000 views
  • Yearbook of Design Excellence–inclusion in and copy of this keepsake
  • Trophies for Gold and Silver winners
  • IDEA Gallery online–attracting more than 3,000 page views/month and featuring a new SEARCH function, making it easier than ever to locate winning products
  • IDEA 2016 Exhibit in conjunction with the IDSA International Conference (space permitting)
  • Winning products become part of the permanent collection of The Henry Ford Museum
  • License to display IDEA winner logo on the website, packaging, advertising and merchandising materials of the winning product
  • A ticket to the IDEA 2016 Ceremony at The Henry Ford Museum


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 7, 2016 Late entry period  DEADLINE EXTENDED
April 12 – 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 (THF)
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 @ THF IDEA Ceremony (Gold and Silver winners revealed)



IDSA Member  Entry - $325 Late1 - $475 Finalist2 - $425
Non-Member (NM) Entry - $475 Late - $650 Finalist - $525
Student   Entry - $125 Late - $225 Finalist - $125
Student NM Entry - $175 Late - $300 Finalist - $125
1: fees for entries submitted after the end of the regular entry period
2: if selected to participate in the second round judging