Marking a Milestone

IHA Student Design Competition Opens for Entries as it Turns 25

Nov 1 2017 - 9:26am

The International Housewares Association Student Design Competition 2018 will celebrate its 25th year in 2018. The contest, which is open for entries through Dec. 18, 2017, is judged blindly—and challenges students to redesign a current housewares product to meet the needs of the future or to create a concept for a new product. Winning projects are selected for their innovation; understanding of production and marketing principles; and quality of entry materials.


There are 14 jurors, including four IDSA members:

Vicki Matrange, H/IDSA, is IHA’s design program coordinator. She says the competition has evolved because of the recommendations of past judges and instructors. "It has become a staple of the curriculum at many schools because of the work it requires—including analysis of user needs, market research and the visual and verbal skills necessary to tell a compelling story," she tells IDSA. "Managing this competition since its inception in 1993 has been a highlight of my career. I’ve learned so much about the field because of working with devoted educators and committed industry professionals who have served as judges."

She adds emotionally, "I’ve watched careers develop because of opportunities offered to the young designers. I get all choked up every year when I phone six students to tell them their projects were selected. I tell them, 'This phone call will change your life'—because I know it does."

In fact, after he scored an unprecedented win In the 2017 IHA Student Design Competition, Dominic Montante, IDSA—who as an industrial design senior at Cleveland Institute of Art—landed a position at Umbra in Toronto. He'd won first, second and third place in the competition for three different designs, and earned the first Outstanding Achievement Award. "It's a real honor," Montante told IDSA at the time. "My school has a tradition of winners who are still remembered today, so it's a special feeling to be among their ranks."

In recognition of his three-peat, Montante received a $5,000 cash prize and an all-expenses paid trip to Chicago for the 2017 International Home + Housewares Show, where his winning product concepts were displayed for tens of thousands of attendees and exhibitors from 100+ countries.

Students from more than two dozen universities around the world participated in the 2017 competition.

Watch more about the 25th anniversary in this new video, which includes interviews with IDSA members: