Danish Design Award Categories

Design has the capacity to generate value and effect on a range of parameters concerning economic, cultural and social aspects. The Danish Design Award wants to celebrate that capacity. Hence, each category description outlines what sort of documentation or argumentation for value must be included in the motivating statement when the entry is submitted.

PLEASE NOTE: Before submitting a design solution, please read the rules of Danish Design Award

Every category is relevant to both the private as well as the public sector.

How will the design solutions be judged?

The jury assesses the submitted design products and solutions on four value and impact criteria:

  1. Economic impact – Does it generate value for people, companies and society?
  2. Contextual fit – Does it reflect an understanding of the users’ needs and life situation?
  3. Innovation height – Is it new, value creating and likely to serve as an inspiration for others?
  4. Design quality – Does the execution show craftsmanship and aesthetic qualities?


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 design solution demonstrates how design can be used as a method for the development of new means of learning and collaboration.

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

Entries in this category should be supported by information demonstrating how the design has contributed to new or better learning – ideally documented in the form of specific results.

Previous finalists and winners: Better Learning


Better Work

– A design award for solutions that have had a positive effect on working life.

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

‘Better work’ may include, for example, the design of user-friendly ergonomic tools, furniture, interiors or solutions to problems associated with hard physical labour or stressful working environments.

The award could also go to a design solution that enables collaborative work at a distance or addresses transport-to-work challenges.

Entries in this category should explain which aspects of the working environment were improved and the effect this achieved (or will achieve).

Previous finalists and winners: Better Work


Feel Good

– A design award for solutions that are highly aesthetic or elegant while providing a useful function.

This award celebrates the power of design to delight the senses. It is given to a solution that moves the heart and mind by virtue of its aesthetic qualities, meaning and sensuality.  

The winning concept needs little explanation, functions well and is representative of the ability of design to create desire. The solution has a positive emotional effect that is delivered via visual or tactile qualities and is sublimely executed, showing a very high degree of design quality.

Entries in this category should include information specifying, in concrete terms, how the solution speaks especially to human emotions and senses and is perceived as sublime.

Previous finalists and winners: Feel Good


Game Changer

An award for design-led solutions that positively disrupts the status quo, creating growth potential or new markets.

The purpose of this award is to show how a design-led approach can have radical positive effect on an existing market or create a new market. The award is given to a solution that demonstrates how disruptive new thinking can create growth, sales and exports. This may be achieved using newly available technology or existing technology used in new ways.

Entries should explain the ‘game’ that has been ‘changed’, how the disruption has been achieved and the effect (or expected effect) that this have already shown.


Healthy Life

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

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

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

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

Entries in this category should document or explain how the solution promotes mental and physical health and contributes to improved quality of life for the user.

Previous finalists and winners: Healthy Life


Liveable Cities

– An award for design-led solutions that humanize or simplify city living.

The winner of this award has demonstrated a significant contribution to improved wellbeing or opportunity for city inhabitants while also having a positive effect on the city environment and ecology. Entries can be components or systems for city living, so the scope is broad and do not need to be architectural solutions.

The entry documentation should explain the solution clearly and how it has achieved its effect, and the scale of that effect on city life.


Message Understood

A design award for solutions that successfully delivers 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 Understood award can be given to any design communication, regardless of platform, medium or scale. Any concept for the design of engaging, aesthetically accomplished and precise communication with optimal impact and minimal redundancy can be considered.

Entries should explain the context around the design, so that the importance of the message being understood and the means by which this is achieved is clear to the jury.

Previous finalists and winners: Message Understood


Outstanding Service

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

This award illustrates that design can be an effective method to rethink or improve an existing service or create an entirely new service.

The winning concept delivers a service that is more user-friendly, competitive and relevant to the customers or users. For example, the service design may result in better communication or more effective and efficient interaction between people.

Entries in this category should be supported by information demonstrating what existing service is improved or new service is being provided. It should be clear why and how the service is considered outstanding in relation to usability, economic effect or human interactions.

Previous finalists and winners: Outstanding Service


Save Resources

– A design award for solutions that enables resources to be used efficiently.

The purpose of this award is to show that design can lead to natural or man-made resources being used in a better way.  

The saving of natural resources through design can be achieved in many ways.  It may be through clean, efficient solutions that have a positive effect on the environment or through reducing the use of natural resources in a significant way.

The saving of man-made resources through design may be achieved either by reducing costs (through, for example redesign, simplified construction, process modifications, improved logistics) or through enabling a circular economy – making it possible for us to share, borrow or rent what we need.

Entries in this category should explain how and what resources were saved and the effect that the resource efficiency has (or will) achieve.

Previous finalists and winners: Save Resources



These award categories are special in the sense that they have different criteria for nomination and the timeframe for implementation. For some of these categories, there is only a winner and no finalists.

Icon Award

A design award for an outstanding concept or solution that has become an international icon.  

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.

Anyone, including the jury, is welcome to nominate candidates for this award. However, the person making the nomination must clearly motivate why the entry should be considered as an international icon of Danish design.

Previous finalists and winners: Icon Award


New Jobs

An award for design-led solutions that have created jobs in Denmark or within Danish companies or organizations.

The purpose of this award is to demonstrate that design can create new jobs or reduce underemployment.

By creating products and services that people want and find relevant, design can create jobs that didn’t previously exist. A design-led approach can also create new companies and industries, which to the overall economy and the creation of new jobs.

This award will be given to a company or organisation that has demonstrated a sustained ability to create jobs through the strategic use of design.  Design-led solutions that reduce underemployment are also included in this category. The winning solution may also be based on a new business model that generates valuable employment.

Entries in this category should explain how strategic design or the design solution itself helped (or will help) to create new jobs within the organisation itself, in related industries or for partner organisations, suppliers or clients. Actual numbers or forecasts of the number of new jobs should be included. Anyone, including the jury, can nominate an entry for this category.


Visionary Concepts

– A design award for solutions that are ‘out of reach but within sight’.

This award is given to an innovative and visionary design concept that points to radical new possibilities within a business, social or cultural context.

Among other factors, the jury assesses what gives the design solution or concept the potential to generate a radical new opportunity or make a radical difference in a business, social or cultural context.  A visionary design concept may, therefore, be found within any genre or sector.

The entry should clearly explain why the concept is to be considered visionary. Naturally enough, the ‘innovation height’ of the concept is a key consideration for the judges. Unlike other awards, the visionary concept does not need to have been realized or implemented.

Previous finalists and winners: Visionary Concepts


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.

Everyone is welcome to propose candidates for this award, but the nominations are also made by Danish design schools.

Previous finalists and winners: Young Talent


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 among the general public.

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

Previous finalists and winners: People’s Choice