We’re delighted to announce an all-new trophy that celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Innovation by Design Awards. Designed by the legendary San Francisco firm Ammunition (known for Beats by Dre headphones), the 9.8-inch aluminum column tapers to an elegant ridge, representing how an innovative idea “tends to rise up from the status quo,” says designer Elvin Chu.
A bead-blasted exterior contrasts with a high-shine interior to bolster the metaphor of an ascendant idea. The trophy also abstractly visualizes Innovation by Design’s new logo, developed by Fast Company art director Alice Alves.
Ammunition initially sketched out approximately 25 concepts, evoking everything from the messiness of innovation (a crinkled tube) to Fast Company’s history as a print publication (a rolled-up piece of sheet metal). With input from Fast Company staff, Ammunition narrowed the options to four, developed the concepts to consider different materials and manufacturing constraints, 3D printed prototypes, and settled on this final design.
“Many people, when they think of innovation, they think of the thing at the end of that process,” says Robert Brunner, Ammunition’s founder. “But we were looking at this idea of innovation as a human endeavor—as a thing that is uniquely human—and how to create something that captures that spirit.”
For Ammunition’s industrial designers, who tend to work on technologically sophisticated products like wearables and smart ovens, the trophy was a rare opportunity to create something more expressive. “Most of our products are extremely constrained,” says Christopher Kuh, vice president of Ammunition’s Industrial Design Studio. “Here we [were] really looking for a symbol of an idea that’s not constrained by anything else.”
Ammunition also helped Fast Company find a manufacturer and devised a plan to ship the trophy in environmentally friendly packaging. The trophy is available to all honorees of the 2021 Innovation by Design Awards. Proceeds will go to Inneract Project, a nonprofit that teaches underrepresented youth about careers in design.
See more from Fast Company’s 2021 Innovation by Design Awards. Our new book, Fast Company Innovation by Design: Creative Ideas That Transform the Way We Live and Work (Abrams, 2021), is on sale now.