The categories: Focus on the value and impact of design
Ocean Cleanup ENG
Eight million tons of plastic is dumped in our seas and oceans every year. The world’s first sustainable clean-up system, the ‘Ocean Clean Up Array’, uses ocean currents to collect plastic and makes it easy to fish it out and recycle it. Idea/designer: Boyan Slat. Photo: INDEX Design to Improve Life.

The categories of the Danish Design Award bring the value and effect of design forward. Regardless of how and through what media a design solution is expressed, the award celebrates design’s ability to make a difference in our society. Get an overview of the 15 categories here, illustrated by examples from Denmark and abroad.

The concept of design is undergoing rapid and constant change and expands as the use of design spreads to new areas. Contemporary design spans the full range from classic product design over process design to business strategies and leadership philosophy. The Danish Design Award aims to embrace and reflect the many aspects of design and the design concept, which are as relevant as ever in relation to innovation, growth and the public good.

The Danish Design Award is unique in its focus on the value and impact of design, which is reflected in the range of categories spanning from design solutions that have created jobs or saved money over health solutions and resource sharing to visionary concepts with potential to inspire and pave the way for others.

The Danish Design Award presents eleven new award categories and four special awards, which, unlike previous Danish design awards, are defined not by their form and medium but instead reflect the focus on value creation in a broad sense and thus on the criteria underlying the assessment of the submitted entries.

We continue to celebrate classic industrial and graphic designs. The new approach simply means that regardless of how the design solution is manifest and in which medium, the focus of the Danish Design Award is on the value and impact generated by the solution.

You can see the eleven award categories and four special awards below alongside examples of solutions from Denmark and abroad. Obviously, the examples are not exhaustive but only serve to illustrate the category.

All the categories are relevant to both the public and the private sector.


1. Employment Growth

– a design award for solutions that create jobs in Denmark

The purpose of this award is to demonstrate that design can create employment. By creating products and services that people actually want and find relevant, design can contribute significantly to a nation’s economy and create new jobs.

The design mindset can also create new companies and industries, again contributing to the overall economy and the creation of new jobs.

This award is given for an excellent business concept that demonstrates how the integration of design thinking can lead to outstanding national and/or international success and employment growth.

With design as a key component of the corporate strategy, the Danish ice cream maker Hansens Flødeis has achieved convincing results and considerable growth both in Denmark and abroad. Photo: Hansens Flødeis.


With a carefully thought-out business model and ambitions of representing the finest Scandinavian design and strengthening the international leading position of Danish design, MUUTO was the first Danish design company to receive venture capital from The Danish Growth Fund. Photo:


2. Message Received

– a design award for solutions that deliver a message powerfully, simply and beautifully

The purpose of this award is to show that design can be a strong communicator.

The award illustrates the ability of design to communicate and engage according to the needs, wishes, behaviour, values and social context of the audience.

The Message Received Award can be given to any great communications design, regardless of platform, medium or scale.

Any concept, which delivers a design, that communicates in an engaging and precise way with maximum impact and a minimum of redundancy can be taken into consideration.

IBM Smarter Outdoor
IBM’s Smarter Outdoor campaign demonstrates how ads can simultaneously inform, serve as urban equipment and deliver a message. Design: Ogilvy & Mather France for IBM. Photo: Bruno Bicalho Carvalhaes.


Realdania publikation
The publication from Realdania’s summit meeting ‘2050 – Der bli’r et yndigt land’ (2050 – building a beautiful country) communicates complex issues in a fruitful interplay of text and visualisations that makes the publication accessible without simplifying the message. Design: Designit A/S for Realdania.


3. Save Money

a design award for solutions that reduce cost

The purpose of this award is to show that effective design can reduce the costs associated with a product or service, without needing to compromise on quality. This category is relevant in both the private and public sector.

Design can improve the bottom line by saving money. The cost reduction may occur through re-design, a better use of materials, simplified assembly, changes in processes, better logistics etc. Alternatively, the design proposal may be based on a completely new concept that achieves the same or an improved outcome for a lower cost.

Grundfos MAGNA3 Cirkulationspumper
Circulator pumps can be serious power guzzlers. MAGNA3 uses 75% less power than a D-labelled pump, thus leading to a considerable reduction in power consumption and the related costs. Design: Grundfos (in-house).


3B Cart System
Globally, lost, damaged or delayed passenger luggage represents a cost that matches the total operating profit of the airline industry. 3B Cart is a design solution that enables huge savings by connecting the airlines’ and the airport’s baggage handling systems in an efficient solution. Design: CPH Inventures for SAS Ground Service and Copenhagen Airport.


4. Share Resources

– a design award for solutions that enable resources to be shared efficiently between many

The purpose of this award is to show that design can enable us to use resources in a better way. The award is given to a concept that builds on the collaborative economy – making it possible for us to share, borrow or rent what we need.

The winning concept makes it possible for users, citizens or companies to coordinate resources. This may be in the form of empty car seats, available work tools or other resources. The concept may match up amateur and professional users, enabling us to make better use of our things, space and knowledge.

As an alternative to today’s throw-away culture, VIGGA offers baby clothes by subscription where the clothes are replaced as the baby grows and the used clothes are recirculated to other subscribers. Photo: VIGGA.


MinbilDinbil (MycarYourcar) is Denmark’s first peer-to-peer car rental service. It offers easy access to a car where and when you need it, thus utilising the existing car park better. Photo: MinbilDinbil.



5. Better Work

– a design award for solutions that positively affect our working life

The purpose of this award is to show how design can contribute to thorough, innovative and effective solutions to workplace challenges.

‘Better Work’ ranges from improved workflows and better services through user-friendly, ergonomic and effective tools to products that solve problems in connection with strenuous physical work or stressful work environments. The award could also go to a concept that enables collaborative work at a distance.


RampSnake is a system developed for loading and unloading airline baggage to prevent workplace injuries resulting from the awkward working positions involved in traditional bag handling. Design: CPH Design A/S. Manufacturer: Rampsnake A/S.


Podio calls their digital platform concept a social work platform. The users build their own apps and set up the platform to match the precise tasks at hand. Photo:


6. Daily Life

a design award for solutions that improve everyday life

The purpose of this award is to show that design can significantly improve quality of life for the individual person or for the family as a whole, whether at home or on the go.

In a broad range of contexts from materials, objects and transportation to space and lighting, a better ‘Daily Life’ can be achieved through designs that improve the practical, social, aesthetic or tactile side of everyday living.

Internal Drive Trappelift
When the Internal Drive stair lift is not in use it doubles as a railing, it slips around corners elegantly, and it is flexible enough to fit into existing buildings. Design: Børge Carlsen for BC lift A/S.
With a selection of almost 5000 items, makes it quick and simple to do your daily grocery shopping. Order online and have your groceries delivered to the door. Photo:


7. Feel Good

– a design award for solutions that make an emotional or sensual connection with people in a surprising way that simply makes you “feel good”!

This award celebrates the power of design to delight our intellect, heart and senses. It is given to that brilliant idea, design, product, tool or movement that moves the heart and mind by virtue of its relevance, meaning, simplicity or inspiration.

The winning concept is functional, easy to use, human-centred, delightful and natural while also making a difference and generating new business.


Wegner’s chairs reflect a profound understanding of the nature of wood, and it is easy to see and feel that they are the result of superior craftsmanship. As Wegner said, ‘The chair is perhaps the item that is closest to humans, so the detailing has to be perfect,’ and ‘The touch points are a key aspect of the experience.’ There are details in the furniture that cannot be determined in a drawing but require the craftsman’s eye and hand. Photo: Detail of ‘PP 701’. Design: Hans J Wegner.


The Velux sun tunnel brings daylight into places that would otherwise require artificial lighting even during the daytime and beautifully reflects the changing colours and intensity of natural light as it varies throughout the day. Design: Lovegrove Studio, Ross Lovegrove for VELUX Danmark A/S.



8. Better Learning

– a design award for solutions that lead to new ways of learning and educating

The award is given to a solution or a project that creates better learning environments. The winning concept demonstrates how design can be used as a tool for the development of new means of learning and collaboration.

This category aims to show how design can support education by creating motivating environments that inspire and engage learners and educators. This can be achieved, for example, through new technology, the creation of new interiors or furniture or the rethinking of educational environments whether as part of an educational institution or outside the organised educational framework.

‘Haver til maver’ (Gardens for bellies) is a culinary gardening project that brings schoolchildren out of the classroom for lessons in nature. Haver til Maver, Krogerup Avlsgaard, Northern Zealand. Photo: Haver til Maver.


Rosan Bosch for Bornholms Efterskole
Rosan Bosch Studio has developed a design for the continuation school ‘Bornholms Efterskole’, which brings form and colour to the school’s ambition of becoming ‘the digital continuation school of the future’. The design enables and facilitates differentiated learning approaches and blurs the distinctions between formal teaching and social learning. Design: Rosan Bosch Studio for Bornholm Efterskole. Photo: Rosan Bosch Studio.


9. Clean World

– a design award for solutions that respect or clean the natural environment

This award demonstrates the potential for design to incorporate sustainability into any given solution. The award can also be given to effective concepts specifically intended to clean or protect the natural environment.

Entries may range from micro to macro-scale.

Design may very well hold the key to solving some of the most urgent environmental challenges we face. The Clean World Award should reflect this potential.

The Fresh Air Kitchen Compost Collector
The Fresh Air Kitchen Compost Collector makes it simpler and more appealing to compost organic waste in your private kitchen. Design: Full Circle Home.


Ocean Cleanup
Eight million tons of plastic is dumped in our seas and oceans every year. The world’s first sustainable clean-up system, the ‘Ocean Clean Up Array’, uses ocean currents to collect plastic and makes it easy to fish it out and recycle it. Idea/designer: Boyan Slat. Photo: INDEX Design to Improve Life.


10. Healthy Life

– a design award for solutions that enable a healthy body or mind for many

The purpose of this award is to demonstrate the potential of design to create solutions that improve people’s mental or physical health.

Design can affect human health in a positive way, for example through smart technology, new intelligent design, rethinking production and workflows and introducing new materials or interiors.

The category is relevant within a wide range of contexts both within and outside healthcare institutions.

The MiniTrainingPavilion moves the fitness centre into nature, combining wellness, exercise, aesthetics and fresh air. Design: TræningsPavillonen ApS, Hans Lyngsgård MAA in cooperation with LOA (Danish Foundation for Culture and Sports Facilities) and DFIF (Danish Company Sports Association).


SafeAir Smoke Evacuation System
SafeAir Smoke Evacuation System is an effective and completely silent system that ensures clean air in the operating room. A functional, versatile design solution that lives up to the requirements for a sterile environment. Design: Irene Kornerup og Jesper Simonsen for SafeAir AG.


11. Outstanding Service

– a design award for solutions that improve or redefine a service

This award illustrates that design can be an effective tool for rethinking or improving an existing service or introducing an entirely new service.

The concept results in a service that is more user-friendly, competitive and relevant to the customers or users. The design of the service may result in better infrastructure or communication or more efficient interaction between people.

Det gode køkken
‘The good kitchen’ has used service design to elevate a public meal service with a tired image to a modern user-centred kitchen for elderly citizens. Design: Hatch & Bloom A/S for Holstebro Municipality, Dept. of Social and Health Services.


Designit og Oslo Universitetshospital
In close cooperation with the users, Designit and Oslo University Hospital have managed to reduce the waiting time for diagnosing breast cancer patients by 90%. Design: Designit A/S Oslo for Oslo University Hospital.



Icon Award

– a design award for an outstanding concept or solution that has become an icon internationally

This award is given to a concept, product or piece of work that has become an icon of Danish design. The work or concept should be unique, well known and admired internationally and be an excellent representative of the Danish design tradition. The work is monumental and is itself part of the Danish brand.

The award can also be given to a person whose collective work or lifetime achievements have become iconic.

The candidates for this award are nominated and selected by the jury, but everyone is welcome to recommend candidates for the award.

Operahuset i Sydney
Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House is a world-renowned icon of Danish architecture and a building that has put both Sydney and Danish design skills on the world map. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. Architect: Jørn Utzon (1918-2008). Engineers: Ove Arup & Partners, London. Clint: Government of New South Wales (inaugurated in 1973). Photo: Nicki Mannix, CC-BY.


People’s Choice

– a design award for solutions that are selected by the general public

The purpose of this award is to generate interest in the broader understanding of design amongst the general public.

Members of the general public in Denmark can vote online for any of the nominated entries.


Visionary Concepts

– a design award for solutions that are out of reach but within sight

The Vision Award is given to a design solution or an innovative and visionary concept that points to radical new possibilities within a business, social or cultural context.

The candidates for this award are nominated and selected by the jury, but everyone is welcome to recommend candidates for the award.

Windship Technology Ltd
Windship Technology Ltd is an energy system under development where rotating masts promise to improve the use of wind power to propel the ship forward and save up to 30% on fuel, potentially revolutionising the global shipping industry. Photo: Lloyd’s Register.


Pig City
Pig City demonstrates the potential for synergy between pig farming and tomato growing in a set-up that significantly reduces CO2 emissions, odour problems and the emission of nutrients into surface and groundwater. A challenging project that rethinks the potential of future agriculture. Design: Gottlieb Paludan Architects, Nee Rentz-Petersen. Pig farmer Søren Hansen & Tomato grower Alfred Pedersen & Søn.


Young Talent

– a design award for an outstanding talent aged 30 years or younger

The purpose of the Young Talent Award is to create awareness of and encourage talent potential in Denmark in design-related areas.

The Young Talent Award is given to an outstanding young designer or entrepreneur who exemplifies the Nordic design tradition combining courage with the ability to create renewal.

The candidates for this award are nominated by the design schools, but everyone is welcome to recommend candidates for the award.

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