Recognized as a symbol of design excellence around the world, the iF DESIGN AWARD welcomed 2021 almost 10,000 submissions from 60 countries.
Our reputation as one of the oldest truly independent design institutions in the world rests on our integrity, which clearly sets us apart from our competitors. Since 1953, iF e.V. has followed six guiding principles:
To identify, support and promote good design
To raise awareness of design among the public and the role it plays in our lives
To help companies integrate design into their long-term strategies
To safeguard the role of professional designer and boost awareness for this job profile
To effect social change through design
To support talented young people and create a public platform for young designers
Picture above from iF jury session 1990
left to right: iF tech assistant, iF tech assistant, Herbert Lindinger, Kenji Ekuan, iF tech assistant, Herbert Schultes, Dean Richardson, Robert Blaich, Michele de Lucchi, Dieter Rams, Yuri Solovjev, Vittorio Lampugnani, Stefan Lengyel.
THE iF OPENING STORY
1953: Germany was still struggling to overcome the impact of the Second World War, at home and abroad. Six years after the British occupying forces selected Hannover as a venue for trade fairs, efforts were made to complement the fair with an institution that would foster and support the “formal design of industrial products” in Germany.
The Hannover Messegesellschaft was inspired by the ideas of the visionary entrepreneur Philip Rosenthal, who also played a key role in the Federation of German Industry (BDI), where he was committed to bringing together the worlds of culture and business. This concept was also adopted for the foundation of the new institution. Together with the Messegesellschaft and the Federation of German Industry, Rosenthal created this unique institution: iF e.V.
This was the start of a symbol of design excellence that is recognized to this day – the iF logo.
The aim was to draw attention to particularly well-designed industrial products. In doing so, they wanted to communicate the importance of design and all it can achieve: for users, for brands and for societies. A new image for German products began to take shape. Fitting then that the resulting association was first known as 'Die gute Industrieform e.V.' (Good Industrial Form). The name Industrie Forum (or iF for short) came later.
BAUHAUS ICON WILHELM WAGENFELD ON THE iF OPENING
provided valuable support at the time and wrote a wonderful opening address for the foundation of iF Industrie Forum Design e.V. His address was published in the first book on iF e.V. Although six decades have passed since then, his words have lost none of their significance, enthusiasm and validity.
Download the opening adress by Wilhelm Wagenfeld about "Thoughts and Experiences of a Designer".
As the original movement looked back to the and its concept of 'good form' – a combination of ethical and aesthetic qualities – so too the has long become a symbol for excellent form, for aesthetic quality, and for user-focused, ergonomic and efficient design in all disciplines, by companies around the world.
In 2001, iF International Forum Design GmbH took over the operating business that includes organizing and hosting the iF DESIGN AWARDS. Since then, iF e.V. has focused more on its role as a mediator between design and business.
"In the same way in which we can read from an antique jug what trends and movements over time have influenced the master craftsman, in that same way, an industrial product shows us the mindset from which it is derived."
Over 60 High Profile Jury Sessions and Award Ceremonies, Social Impact and a new Foundation
And every year since, iF invited designers and manufacturers to judge which designs are award-worthy and which not – not only the number of award entries grew over the years – the number of jurors from all around the world grew to about 70 to 90 people each year. Such designers like Dieter Rams, Richard Sapper, Franco Clivio or Stefan Dietz and Paola Picasso, to name a few, have already taken part in the iF jury sessions.
DESIGN AND SOCIAL IMPACT THE iF SOCIAL IMPACT PRIZE SINCE 2017
Since 2017, iF supports projects by companies, social entrepreneurs, design studios, NGOs, foundations, public and other organizations with the iF SOCIAL IMPACT PRIZE. The submitted projects should approach or solve a relevant problem, reflect moral-ethical standards, strengthen group relations or create positive experiences and meet the . No fees are charged and the best projects will be honored with a prize money of EUR 100,000 in total. Since its beginning, we supported and published more than and almost 1,000 on the iF App.
iF Design Foundation
Through our design awards and social engagement, we have built an outstanding international reputation for the iF brand. The new iF Design Foundation will build on this, actively developing a more versatile mission.
Future: Berlin, we are coming!
Two major iF events were planned moving to THE creative metropolis Berlin. After eight years in Munich, the iF design award nights 2020 and 2021 should take place in the Friedrichstadt-Palast, but the Corona pandemic stopped these plans temporarily. “Berlin is one of the most fascinating and exciting cities in the world! Elected as UNESCOCity of Design, Berlin turned to be one of the most creative hubs in Europe and globally", says Ralph Wiegmann, CEO at iF. We have to wait and see what the pandemic allows us in 2022.
We are confident that the coming sixty years of design will be even more exciting and more fruitful than the last sixty years. iF is honored to be a part of the history and future of design!