ID Legend Earns World Design Medal on #WIDD2017

World Design Organization (WDO) marked June 29 as World Industrial Design Day 2017 by “Thinking Outside the Box.” Social media was abuzz with #WIDD2017 @worlddesignorg, as designers from around the world posted photos of how they're integrating sustainable design elements in practices and products. Their contribution may appear in WDO’s list of 60 iconic designs for its 60th anniversary celebration. Also on June 29, WDO announced the recipient of the World Design Medal. WDO calls Hartmut Esslinger, founder of frog design, "a legend in industrial design." Earlier this year, Esslinger was honored with the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum's National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Esslinger will accept the World Design Medal and give a keynote presentation at the 30th WDO General Assembly in Torino, Italy Oct. 14-15, 2017. "From the first fully plastic television sets designed for WEGA, to early versions of the Apple computer conceived in collaboration with Steve Jobs, Esslinger has made his mark on the industrial world and the general public by designing human-driven consumer products over the past half-century," declares WDO. "With global brand giants under his belt the likes of Sony, IBM, Lufthansa, Microsoft, Olympus, Motorola, Siemens, Hewlett-Packard, General Electric and even Louis Vuitton, Esslinger’s work has influenced generations of consumers and inspired countless contemporary designers."

Esslinger co-founded the Karlsruhe College of Design in Germany in 1990, served as professor for industrial design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and currently is a DeTao professor at Fudan/SIVA University in Shanghai.

On the WDO Senate Committee that unanimously chose Esslinger for the World Design Medal is Robert Blaich, FIDSA. Previously, the IDSA Fellow served as president of what was then the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid); VP of design and communications at Herman Miller; senior managing director of global design at Royal Phliips; and chair of TEAGUE. Currently he is president of Blaich Associates. In 1992, Blaich also received the World Design Medal, given in conjunction with IDSA. Previous winners of the honor include: the Government of Great Britain, Kenji Ekuan, Arthur Pulos, Yuri Soloviev, Jens Bernsen and Dieter Rams.

On #WIDD2017, WDO focused on UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #12: Responsible Consumption & Production. (Learn more about SDGs here.) WDO says young designers are declaring industrial design can make a positive difference in the world through sustainable design, which applies new technologies and chooses recycled or sustainable materials to create more environmentally responsible products.

They're also “thinking outside the box” by looking at design more holistically. “A better under­standing of environmen­tal and social impacts of products and services is needed, both in terms of product life cycles and how these are affected by use within lifestyles,” says WDO.

The capstone of WIDD 2017 will be an op-ed addressing the shift in the industry toward more sustainable production practices, titled “Thinking Outside The Box: A Manifesto for Responsible Production and Consumption,” based on contributions received from participants during WIDD 2017.

World Industrial Design Day was first declared in 2007 by the then International Council of Societies of Design (Icsid) for its 50th anniversary.