Announcing The 54 Finalists In Our Innovation By Design Awards

At last, the results you’ve been waiting for.

In many ways, the word design is a misnomer. Truly innovative design reaches beyond aesthetics to encompass science, intuition, and emotion. It often asks us to stretch our imagination, to re-imagine what design means and can do.


Such is the case with our second annual Innovation By Design Awards. We fielded entries from around the world, from both massive corporations and one-man-band artists. Our judges–all undisputed experts and visionaries in the field–combed through over 1,200 submissions and chose these 54 finalists as the brightest beacons for the future of design. These projects do myriad things: they tease out our ideas of how big businesses will look in the future, they flip the traditional neighborhood on its head, and take us into outer space.

For now, the projects listed here represent only the finalists. (You can also find and read about them in a feature package in our October issue.) The winners of each category will be announced at our Innovation By Design Awards on October 2, in New York City.

Many thanks to everyone who entered, and to the judges, who made the awards possible. We hope to hear from you next year, and to see your work before then.

2-D design

American Airlines: AA’s first logo rebranding in more than 40 years (with a new cabin look to follow)

American Airlines
AA’s first logo rebranding in more than 40 years (with a new cabin look to follow)

Geothermal Heat Pump Manual
A Pentagram-designed guide to alternative energy sources, for New York homeowners

Little Sun
Artful branding for solar-powered lamps


Making Policy Public
Graphic guides to New York’s complicated municipal codes

USA Today
A new logo and brand identity for the newspaper, by creative agency Wolff Olins


Dyson Airblade Tap: A hand washer and dryer in one, for a cleaner public-restroom experience

A smartphone-enabled driving assistant, for greater gas efficiency

Dyson Airblade Tap
A hand washer and dryer in one, for a cleaner public-restroom experience

The Ice Record Project
An album that poetically melts as it plays, by the band the Shout Out Louds

iPhone accessories that can sense if your environment is healthy (or not)


Leap Motion
Three-dimensional gesture-control technology that could replace the computer mouse

Makey Makey
A circuit-board invention kit that can turn (almost) anything into a mouse-and-keyboard interface

Nike Vapor Laser Talon Cleat
The first 3-D–printed football cleat, weighing in at 5.6 ounces

Oru Kayak
A flat-packed kayak, suited for cramped city living

Smile Makers
Cheeky vibrators for women, based on four erotic characters


1 Second Every Day
A video notebook to record one second, every day, for a year


Connected China
An app that visualizes China’s elite people and organizations

Facebook Home
The social network’s mobile experience, with friends–not apps–at the forefront

Google Maps for iPhone
A clean, predictive app that saved iOS 6 users from Apple’s ill-made maps

Google Now
The personal-assistant app that knows where you are, where you’re going, and what you want to eat

The email app for taming your inbox

The iPad app for sketches, diagrams, and illustrations



Mars Curiosity Rover: NASA’s mobile laboratory on the Red Planet takes space exploration to new heights

Cadillac ATS
The 2013 sport sedan rethinks an old, once-stodgy brand

Mars Curiosity Rover
NASA’s mobile laboratory on the Red Planet takes space exploration to new heights

Scoot Networks
San Francisco’s shared network for Vespa-like scooters

Tesla Model S
The first all-electric sports car

The disruptive, data-driven app for on-demand town-car service

A fleet of GPS–equipped bikes that tweet their location



Cloud: An interactive sculpture built from 6,000 lightbulbs

An interactive sculpture built from 6,000 lightbulbs

Fast Track
A 560-foot, outdoor trampoline sidewalk

Klong Toey Community Lantern
An indoor and outdoor modular community center in Bangkok

Solar-Powered Floating Schools
Floating schools and health clinics for the flood-ridden

Whangapoua Sled House
A portable beach house in New Zealand

The Whitney Studio
The Whitney Museum of American Art’s education center, built from shipping containers


Social Good

Firefly Newborn Phototherapy: Treatment lamps for infant jaundice

Medicine shipped in Coca-Cola crates

Clean Team
Ghana-based service for portable toilet rentals and cleaning, by Unilever

Firefly Newborn Phototherapy
Treatment lamps for infant jaundice

The Lucky Iron Fish Project
A cure for anemia in Cambodia

ReMotion knee
An affordable, likable prosthetic knee


Decelerator Helmet: A tool to see the world in slow motion

4-D Printing
Self-assembling materials, from MIT


Decelerator Helmet
A tool to see the world in slow motion

Food Thinking
Research and deep insights into the “foodie” era

No Place Like Home
Oxford shoes outfitted with GPS

Modular buildings that change to suit the needs of inhabitants

Pettaway Pocket Neighborhood
Housing clusters with outdoor common space, for sustainable land use

Edible food packaging


Student design

Music Boxes: iPad-activated wooden music boxes

An interactive app for crowdsourced political journalism

Headgear that augments the sense of sight, smell, or sound

Hello Compost
Incentive-based composting systems

Self-care learning tools for young adults with autism

Music Boxes
iPad-activated wooden music boxes

The Polyfloss Factory
At-home recycling and manufacturing of new plastic products


Preserving Human Dignity
A clever condom wrapper, for one-handed use

A mobile 3-D printing workshop

SurfaceMount Microdialysis (SMD) Medical Toolkit
A cleaner kit for measuring metabolic levels after surgery

Stay tuned for the winners, to be announced at our Innovation By Design Awards on October 2.

[Typography by Sawdust]


About the author

Margaret Rhodes is a former associate editor for Fast Company magazine.