DESIGN MAG VOL 2: IF Design Award, Celebrating Design Excellence

Since 1954, the event has gained increasing international recognition and has come to be considered as one of the most prestigious awards for products and services that stand out for innovation in all disciplines of design.

The IF Design Award was founded in 1954 by the iF International Forum Design, the oldest independent design organisation, itself born the previous year in Hannover. Among its basic principles that of identifying and promoting quality design, popularising it while encouraging social changes through design and by supporting young talents wanting to make a career in design. It’s one of the most recognised and coveted international design awards. The iF logo recognises quality design in all the major disciplines: product design, packaging, communication and services, architecture and interior design, professional concepts. The latest additions being User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI). Altogether, 9 categories for a total of 81 subcategories that cover all the principal areas of design.


The association was founded and inspired by German entrepreneur Philip Rosenthal, who played a key role in the German Industry Federation (BDI), where he engaged in uniting the business world to that of culture. The objective of the new institution, initially called “Die Gute Industrieform” (the good industrial form) before becoming “Industrie Forum” (or iF in short), was to attract the attention on carefully designed industrial products. The intent was to convey the innovative strength of design and what it could achieve: for consumers, for the brands and for the companies. IF’s inaugural speech was held by Bauhaus icon Wilhelm Wagenfeld, a not a casual choice since the original movement leading to the birth of the foundation was largely inspired by the German school and its concept of “good form”, a combination of ethical and aesthetic qualities.


In its more than 60 years of history, in excess of 51 thousand products and services received an iF award. They are all featured at www.ifdesign. com as a way to promote the culture of design. Every year, thousands of submissions, coming from all over the world, are selected and presented to a jury of at least 50 international, independent experts. Only the absolute best receive a Golden iF Design Award, considered as the “Design Oscar”.

Since 1954 through to 2022, hundreds of designers and architects have been part of the jury. The process is divided in two phases: the first phase consists in an online pre-selection, while in the second phase judges actually meet in a 3 days session behind closed doors. Here they proceed to a further selection, based on a new 5-criteria evaluation process introduced in 2021. These criteria, developed together with a team of international design experts, are: idea, aesthetics, functionality, differentiation, and impact. They were. Every judge can assign two points for each criteria. The judge’s assessments for every submission are then consolidated into an iF scorecard: a detailed, exhaustive feedback in the form a graphic chart is then passed on to every participant.


In this year’s edition, the largest ever, the 132 international judges coming from more than 20 different countries examined almost 11.000 entries from 57 countries, assigning awards to 1.973 of them. Among these, 73 received the iF Gold Award 2022. Italy’s Patrizio Cionfoli, design&interaction director at Studio Volpi, was a member of this year’s jury, and released a brief, exclusive interview to Design Magazine (see box on page 42).

The awards ceremony took place on May 16 in Berlin, home to the iF Awards since a few years, at the Friedrichstadt-Palast, the world’s largest events’ venue.


What are the benefits deriving from winning an IF Design Award? There are several, starting with the worldwide visibility one can enjoy thanks to the wide notoriety the competition has in Europe, in America and above all in Asia. Then there is the opportunity of getting precious feedback from internationally acclaimed design experts, which can constitute some hard, objective evidence as to the validity of one's design. Last but not least, the PR opportunities coming from the strong following of the award among the design community and its wide media coverage.

Photocredit: Roman Thomas

The 2022 iF Award’s international jury, made up of 132 members coming from more than 20 different countries, at work during the 3-day closed door sessions.


Design & interaction director at Studio Volpi, Jury’s chairperson for the Kitchen category at IF Award 2022

What does being a judge at the IF Design Award mean to you?

To be part pf a jury means taking on a role of great responsibility and respect for all the companies that took part in the event, and as a consequence for all the people that participated in the development of innovative products; it means assessing the result of a new project's journey that deserves attention, knowledge, dedication and respect.

What’s the biggest strength of this award?

Its strength lies in the contagious energy it dispenses along the entire process, from the early stages with the preparation of sketches, of renderings and descriptions; then the anxious waiting, and eventually the awards ceremony. It promotes dialogue and cross contamination between companies, colleagues, entrepreneurs. Actually winning an award and being among “the great” increases the awareness of one's capacity to do better and better. The iF logo affixed on a product brings great value and international prestige. The strength is all in the system.

Three reasons for which it’s worth taking part?

1.Being judged by the most authoritative professionals in their respective categories
2.Being on one of the world's most important design stages


The iF Gold Award, aka Design Oscar, is the top recognition of the iF Design Award organisation. It is given to the best projects for their quality and creativity in the various disciplines of design. In the 2022 edition, the 132 international judges, coming from more than 20 countries, have awarded the Oscar to 73 outstanding projects. Homa’s Design Magazine has reviewed five of them for you.

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