Every fall, I look forward to the time when the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum hosts its People’s Design Award contest. For this aspect of its larger National Design Awards program, the museum invites the public to nominate an object by uploading an image of it or to vote for an existing nominee that, in their opinion, constitutes good design.
Polls opened this week, and as I write, there are already 66 nominees. Up for debate are the usual throwback designs. One this year is the Ford Model T. And, of course, there are some shoe-ins, like the iPad 2. But, otherwise, the ballot is a real smorgasbord. Cuboro Marble Run puts the Marbleworks of my childhood to shame, in the way it encourages kids to think more mechanically. I hadn’t yet seen Puma’s Clever Little Bag, a reusable bag that the shoe company is now using in place of a cardboard shoebox. Speaking of shoes (a shoe took the prize in 2007), the nominated Mojito Shoe is so artistically abstract it is almost unrecognizable as a shoe. Even WordPress, the publishing platform we use for this blog, is part of the mix.
As I see it, the ballot always becomes this neat, crowd-sourced catalog of the interests and priorities of today’s consumers. And, in its light, we consumers look quite good—fun, eco-friendly, socially-conscious and artistic!
Voting continues until 6 p.m. EST on October 17, and the winner will be announced October 20 at the National Design Awards gala at Pier Sixty in New York City. The Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum will offer free admission and public programs during National Design Week, which runs October 15-23.