Each year, IDSA recognizes exceptional student design talent through our Student Merit Awards program. The competition highlights the very best creativity, problem solving and design brilliance in each of IDSA's five North American Districts. Two winners are selected from each District for this prestigious distinction, one at the Undergraduate (SMA) level and one at the Graduate (GSMA) level.
Both the SMA and GSMA program operate through IDSA’s online awards platform. A jury panel of design leaders and educators representing a cross-section of professional practice and design academia is assembled annually to review and select winners. This ensures the highest level of quality and rigor is achieved throughout all stages of the process.
Student Merit Award winners benefit from massive media exposure through IDSA's extensive reach and high-level industry recognition. These individuals receive an online profile, a print feature in INNOVATION magazine and special distinction at the annual International Design Conference. IDSA is proud to witness the incredible acceleration that winning an SMA provides in the professional success of those who participate. Previous winners are quickly becoming some of the most celebrated designers practicing today.
Undergraduate Student Merit Awards (SMA)
The SMA competition consists of two separate rounds. Round 1 (January 1 - March 8) is conducted independently by the schools and determines a single Student Finalist for that school. Round 2 (March 8 - April 5) is conducted entirely online by IDSA and determines the five SMA District Winners. One winner is selected from each District for this prestigious distinction. There is no fee to enter; however, participants must be a current IDSA student member.
Graduate Student Merit Awards (GSMA)
The GSMA competition consists of a single round. Graduate-level industrial design students are encouraged to submit their work through our online platform in order to enter the GSMA competition. There is no fee to enter; however, participants must be a current IDSA student member. Multiple students from a school can submit their work for consideration. GSMA opens for entry March 8, 2021.
A Winner's Perspective