IDEA Rules & Regulations

In order to be eligible for IDEA, the following criteria must be met:


  • Open to designs and designers worldwide. 
  • Only student entries may be submitted at the student price. If you are a student and wish to be judged as a professional, you will be charged the professional entry fee.
  • If your entry did not win a Gold, Silver or Bronze IDEA last year, but still meets all the other criteria (including two year distribution window), it may be resubmitted. 
  • Designs may be entered in multiple categories, but each entry must be purchased and submitted separately. Awards will not be given to the same design in more than one product category (i.e., Medical & Health and Home & Bath).  
  • The jury and/or organizers have the right to move entries among categories to the benefit of the entry without consulting the entrant.
  • Any entry that wins a Gold, Silver or Bronze IDEA will be retained by The Henry Ford. Any non-winning design, including Finalists, will be disposed of unless the entrant provides a prepaid return shipping label at the time of submitting their product to The Henry Ford for Round 2 judging.
  • There are no refunds.


  • Products must have been placed into distribution between March 2017 and March 2019. This means the product must be available for purchase, in its final form to its intended end users, through normal sales channels during that period (except in the case of the Social Impact Design category, where products often are given as part of an aid effort or donation program).
  • Student entries must have been submitted to the school between March 2017 and March 2019
  • Design Concept entries must not be scheduled for production. If you are submitting a Design Concept, it must have been finalized or submitted to the client between March 2017 and March 2019 and clearly indicated as a concept. You may enter a concept in any of the categories.

Please note that IDSA and THF are not responsible for any damage during the shipping process and prototypes are not accepted.

THE JUDGING IS BLIND: the designers, their names and the names or logos of consulting firms may not appear anywhere in the entry form or image/file uploads. Failure to abide by this rule results in immediate disqualification. It is acceptable for brand names or logos of manufacturing companies/clients to appear ONLY if they are inherent to the product.

All decisions of the Jury and Sponsors are final. IDSA makes no guarantees as to the number and level of IDEAs given each year. All data contained in the submission becomes the property of IDSA and part of its archives.  Supplementary judging material and product samples submitted by finalists will be held by The Henry Ford’s permanent collection (winners only). By submitting an entry, you agree that IDSA and any other party authorized by it shall have permission to publish any material contained in the submission. Award entry material is on the public record and no content will be treated confidentially. 

Entrant agrees to grant IDSA, its Sponsor(s), third-party vendors and agents the unrestricted rights to publish, display and use the submitted design, entrant’s name, voice, photograph, logo, other mark or likeness, as well as same for the designer(s), for advertising and promoting the competition and other related purposes in any media without additional permission or compensation (optional for TN residents).  Selected entrants may also be required to provide other relevant information. Unless restricted by law, each selected entrant will be required to complete and return the Release along with requested supplementary judging material within the time period specified therein. 

Competition is subject to these Official Rules.  

By participating, entrants agree to be bound by these complete Official Rules and, whether or not a member, the terms of ethics on IDSA’s website. All decisions of Sponsor are final and binding; entrants agree to waive any right to claim ambiguity in the Competition or these Official Rules, except where prohibited by law.  By accepting an award, winner agrees to release Sponsor, its attorneys, affiliates, together with the respective directors, employees, officers, licensees, licensors and agents of each, including without limitation, their respective advertising and promotion entities and any person or entity associated with the production, judging or administration of the Contest, (collectively, the Releases) from any and all liability, loss or damage arising from or in connection with awarding, receipt and/or use or misuse of award or participation in any award-related activities.  Sponsor reserves the right to use the Contest for publicity purposes in any media, and to use the name, likeness, entry materials and hometown name and/or award information of selected entrants as part of that publicity, without any compensation or prior review unless prohibited by law. Sponsor may cancel the contest for any reason, at its sole discretion.  This Contest is void everywhere such contests are prohibited or restricted by law and subject to applicable federal, state provincial and local laws.  Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any entrant it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or violating these Official Rules. The Releases shall not be liable for: (i) late, lost, delayed, misdirected, incomplete, unreadable, inaccurate, garbled or unintelligible entries or communications; (ii) broadband, cable, telephone system, telephone or computer hardware, software or other technical or computer malfunctions, lost connections, disconnections, delays or transmission errors; (iii) data corruption, theft, destruction, unauthorized access to or alteration of entry or other materials; (iv) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by acceptance of the award or resulting from acceptance, possession or use of the award, or from participation in the Contest; or (v) any printing, typographical, administrative or technological errors in any materials associated with the Contest.  Sponsors disclaim any liability for damage to any computer system resulting from participating in, or accessing or downloading information in connection with this Contest, and reserve the right, in their sole discretion, to cancel, modify or suspend the Contest should a virus, bug, computer problem, unauthorized intervention or other causes beyond Sponsors’ control, corrupt the administration, security or proper play of the Contest.  Sponsors may prohibit an entrant from participating in the Contest or winning award if, in its sole discretion, it determines such entrant is attempting to undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest in any way by cheating, hacking, deception or any other unfair playing practices of intending to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other players or Sponsors’ representatives. Disputes regarding these Official Rules and/or this Contest will be governed by the internal laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Any and all legal actions or claims arising in connection with this Contest must be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction within Virginia, and you agree to jurisdiction and venue in the courts of Virginia.  Entrant acknowledges and agrees that IDSA reserves the right to amend, modify or terminate the competition at any time.  CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE IDSA or any of the Sponsors AND/OR CONTEST-RELATED WEBSITES OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST MAY BE IN VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND WILL RESULT IN DISQUALIFICATION FROM PARTICIPATION IN THE CONTEST.  SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSORS RESERVE THE RIGHT TO SEEK REMEDIES AND DAMAGES (INCLUDING ATTORNEY FEES) TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW, INCLUDING CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.

IDSA and the Sponsors shall not be involved in any dispute and shall be held harmless and free of any liability in any dispute regarding intellectual property rights. By entering this Competition, Entrant warrants that entry does not infringe on the Intellectual Property rights of others.


All personal information collected by IDSA and the Sponsors will be used for administration of the Contest. In addition, entrants specifically opt in to receive email correspondence from, or on behalf of IDSA, subject to IDSA’s privacy policy. IDSA complies with Federal CAN-SPAM guidelines and entrants may subsequently opt-out of receiving further emails. Any questions regarding privacy matters should be directed to the address set out below. Please refer to Sponsors’ privacy policy located at for important information regarding the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by Sponsor.

For a copy of these Official Rules, send a request in a self-addressed, stamped envelope (WA, VT and Canadian residents need not affix return postage) to:  IDEA Official Rules, 555 Grove Street, Suite 200, Herndon, VA 20170. Or send an email request to Winners will be posted on IDSA’s website. IDSA and IDEA are trademarks of the Industrial Designers Society of America.