The IDB awards 7 prizes per category and 12 special prizes linked to the thematic areas on which its conceptual framework has an impact.  In addition, honorable mentions can be awarded in each of them.

This year we have a new award, the Image City / UCCI Award.

In the 2018 edition, two specific calls for entries are incorporated, with their own participation rules, for the “Frank Memelsdorff” Company and Design Awards and Research and Design.

An international jury ratifies the selection proposed by the Advisory Committee and awards the prizes and mentions.

Below you can consult the profiles of the awards as a guide to focus the presentation of your project.

Download here the profiles of the awards

Perfil de los premios_EspañolAwards profile_English

Awards per category

Interior/space design

Interior design, lighting, installations, ephemeral architecture, cultural equipment, museography, retail, integrated projects.

Product / Industrial Design

Self-published product, collections, systems, packaging, craftsmanship, digital manufacturing, applied research, materials, design for mobility, design for health, furniture, street furniture, lighting, integrated projects)

Graphic design and visual communication

Identity design, editorial design, typography, poster design, information design, advertising design, signage system design, pictograms, label design and packaging design, graphic design for television and film titles, exhibition graphic design, combination of elements.

Fashion design, textiles and accessories

Clothing, collections /series, apparel, patterns, fabrics, materials, complements and accessories such as shoes, bags, hats, jewelry.

Digital Design

Web design, apps, interaction design and data visualization, product interface design, interactive installations, motion graphics, animation design, video games, integrated projects.

Service Design

Design methodology that, through a holistic view and a collaborative and empathetic process, plans actions that add value and innovation to services by improving the user experience in each interaction in an omnicanal environment.

Service design work must demonstrate high-level strategic vision to the extent of a deep understanding of the processes and support systems involved in the implementation of solutions that will determine the quality of the designed interactions. Process and research documentation for the design, the Experience /Ideation and design (adaptability of the points of contact to provide different levels of interaction; originality and variety of the solutions that emerge, richness and multimedia/transmedia integration of the different channels; narrative coherence between the image and brand identity along the path) and the System / Implementation and evaluation or conclusions of the project as well as the impact of the solutions on the user experience, contribution to the business or brand image of the organization providing the services will be considered. That is, capacity to generate and deliver relevant value (utility) and capacity to capture value (business).

Integral design / transversal

Projects at the intersection of several categories.

Special Awards

Design for Development / Spanish Cooperation

Design for Social Development is that which promotes the creation of technologies or enterprises that improve the lives of people in situations of vulnerability or poverty. It is the design focused on the needs of the citizens, with incidence in the poorest or needy of the world population and that many times is born and developed involving, in its management and implementation, community participation, co-creation, interdisciplinary collaboration and crowd sourcing.

Co-creation has an important role: it empowers communities by considering their skills and instruments so that they themselves become innovative and develop their own technologies, instead of applying already known technologies. This process stimulates innovation and local creativity and is a determining factor in generating long-term sustainable improvements in the quality of life of a community.

The role of the designer in this whole process is to establish a two-way street that makes available their knowledge of formal education and absorbs, at the same time, the knowledge of the community, so that they can innovate by inspiring each other in the creation of new technologies and new ideas, looking for results and successful solutions, focused on the needs of the users. The so-called Design for Development has the important role of supporting and encouraging people and their communities to face and solve the development difficulties in which they live, and usually forms a network of experiences linked to design management for local development.

Design and City / Madrid City Council

Ours is an increasingly metropolitan culture. The trend, especially in Latin America during the last two decades, is that of a population that moves, more and more, from the countryside to the city, from small towns to the big metropolises. This implies the appearance of great urbanistic, environmental and social challenges… It is urgent to destine part of our capacity of reflection, and therefore of design, to think about our cities. Cities that, with few exceptions, were born centuries ago and whose needs, structures and approaches were very different from those of today’s cities, which concentrate 70% of our population growth.

Stimulating the emergence of proposals from design, focused and designed to improve the city, or rather, to improve the lives of the inhabitants of our cities, is the objective of this IDB Design and City Award promoted jointly by the Ibero-American Design Biennial, the DIMAD Foundation and the Madrid City Council.

A prize that should emphasize the search for solutions to the most important problems, which are not always the most visible: public transport; traffic and pollution; lack of equipment and open spaces; inequality and social precariousness; basic supplies and provisions; special attention to children, the elderly or minorities; hygiene, planning and significance of common spaces, etc.

Design and citizen participation

There are numerous factors that influence the transformation of Latin American countries, modifying their social, economic and environmental conditions. In the midst of a cycle of global economic crisis, large sectors of the population continue to suffer aggression from economic and political elites, with fluctuations in GDP, uncertain educational policies, changes generated by advances in new technologies or the globalization of the economy. All of this has caused citizens to move from a passive position to being a driving force for change, realizing that they can work to promote their own ideas in their environment and that design is a motor for social transformation.

Social and civic sectors are organized by modifying political and social relations to respond to the needs of the present, and without compromising the future of future generations. They not only redesign links, but also new forms of communication and visualization. They succeed in branding their movements and managing open processes in their languages and actions. In this edition, the IDB is looking for projects that bring revealing ideas of the social responsibility of the designer, where design serves as an effective communication tool of this theme, exhibiting unique and paradigmatic cases in different Latin American countries.

The design “for people, prosperity and planet” occupies an increasingly important space in public life, designing the urban space, democratizing information, influencing the conservation and production of culture and public policies. The object of this award is the projects that include innovative work processes in their creative dynamics, promoting responsible consumption, attitudes and behaviors for the welfare of all living beings in their ecosystem, that is, designing having the users as protagonists, letting themselves be contaminated by the local culture, from the collaboration, cooperation and citizen participation.

Design for everyone

The concept of Design for All or Universal Design seeks to establish design solutions so that all people, in all periods of life, regardless of their age, gender or abilities, can use the spaces, products and services in their environment, taking an active part, at the same time, in the construction of society. One of its associated canons is accessibility. Thus, the concept alludes to the design without barriers, the accessible design and the technology of support.

The principles of the so-called design for all, or universal design, aim to design products and environments that are easy to use for the greatest possible number of people, without the need to adapt or redesign them in any special way.

Universal accessibility” implies the condition that environments, processes, goods, products and services, as well as objects or instruments, tools and devices, must meet in order to be understandable, usable and practicable by all people in safety and comfort and in the most autonomous and natural way possible. This implies considering the requirements of all potential users from the early stages of product design, so that older people and people with disabilities become an important part of potential users.

These general design principles are applicable in different disciplines, including architecture, engineering, design and, of course, web pages and applications. Universal Design is an essential part of the strategy to achieve a society in which all people can participate. This is part of a model of society that is being redefined, based on the inclusion of all and that derives, to a great extent, from the reflection about the way in which society wants to welcome the person in all his diversity, neutralizing the deficiency, the limitation of the activity or the difficulties for the participation.


* Assistive technology: any technology from which technical aids can be derived, understood as any product, instrument, equipment or technical system used by a person with a disability, specially manufactured or available on the market, to prevent, compensate, increase, maintain or improve the functional capacities of persons with disabilities.

* Web Accessibility: Accessibility can be defined as the possibility that a web site or service can be visited and used satisfactorily by the greatest possible number of people, regardless of personal limitations.

Design & Innovation

The IDB wants to reward projects already carried out in a wide spectrum of innovation: technological and non-technological. Very often innovation is confused with technological novelty. The award wants to recognize innovation that uses both technological novelty and knowledge to produce new ways of doing things. Technology today is a kind of spectacle and its face is always perceived as innovative, but innovation at the beginning of our century has many faces, not necessarily spectacular.

Innovative designs are more than that. They are new processes, new procedures, new developments, new uses, new experiences or new needs. New ways of solving problems, whether or not they involve technology.

We understand innovative design as a discipline of revelation for the user. Likewise, we consider designers as generators of combinatorics to overcome new or unforeseen realities.

It is not at all easy to define the field of the innovative in design, because its delimitation previous to the production of the project and the product would imply foresight, when one of the possible characteristics of the innovative in design is not to be foreseen, apart from supposing novelty. But, in addition, an innovative design is a carrier of a new value or new values. It is not valid with the simple novelty, the innovation has to be valuable for people. Finally, innovation implies a dose of originality as an implicit quality in the project, in its development, in the product, in the uses and functions of the design.

When evaluating the projects and designs presented for this award, special consideration will be given to novelty, the contribution of new value, its unpredictability, the originality of the approaches provided and the research profile.

Design & Sustainability

This award wants to highlight those works that aim to provide innovative and functional design solutions. Projects that consider environmental, economic and social aspects in the development of a certain product or service.

The IDB wants to promote and disseminate examples of good practice. To this end, we invite designers and large and small companies that have made efforts to incorporate sustainability in their final result to participate with their work. This implies not only proposals that consider the incorporation of environmental and social factors in the development of products during the product life cycle, during the supply chain and with respect to their socio-economic environments, but also conceptual proposals linked to this thematic axis.

Sustainability requires that the needs of future generations are considered, which means that current and future environmental impacts are reduced. Hence the critical need to improve production processes, products and functional systems of products and services connected from the discipline that concerns us, the design.

Design & Entrepreneurship

To undertake is to design, whatever its activity and objectives, whether it has a social, ecological and economic aspect.

The fundamental distinction of today’s entrepreneurs from traditional entrepreneurship is in the value they propose, through a service, a product, an experience, in which technology plays an important role. For an entrepreneur, part of designing a business, whose value is related to a positive transformation in society. Entrepreneurship is a skill that in principle every human being has.

The impact of people’s entrepreneurship can be measured with the help provided by business management indicators but also with others, indicators designed to evaluate variables that have so far been neglected or little studied, especially in relation to emotional, material and social ecology, as well as the economic and social impact as such in terms of reducing high unemployment and labor inclusion, with a clear return to society. Most undertakings are oriented towards an objective, towards the satisfaction of a need and the fulfillment of a goal, which is none other than to contribute to the common good. The design of the business model is key.

It is evident that the business conscience with respect to the problems (both social and ecological) generated by human and industrial activities, grows every day. For this reason, more and more entrepreneurs are setting goals around design and development for their business, with more responsible products and services. Let’s remember that the purpose of design is to alter the current reality, modifying conceptions and attitudes, altering methods and interventions and improving or transforming present situations into desirable ones.

Design and Entrepreneurship are closely linked, so the IDB recognizes the efforts of these entrepreneurs with a prize for ideas, projects or initiatives, products, services or environments, valuing a value proposal that ensures the promotion of equality between women and men, the promotion of equal opportunities and non-discrimination, and sustainable development.

It will be especially valued:

  • Team projects with a positive impact on society.
  • Innovative projects with a global mentality.
  • DTP works that have grown in projection as a business initiative.
  • Design studies that have consolidated producing and commercializing their proposals.
  • Value proposals with social, ecological and economic impact.
  • The design of the service and the communication of the proposal.

Research & Design

**See special announcement for this award

Design and Research play the same essential strategic role in the economy. Both activities are equally transversal to all sectors of production and all areas of the economy. They are also indispensable to change and improve our lives by defining and improving the quality of the objects we produce and the products and services we consume.

Design and research are the best demonstration of how talent and creativity are not only cultural values but valuable tools for economic intervention.  And there is no doubt that the collaboration between research and design teams allows us to reinforce the activity of both. These awards will try to increase the sensitivity to this joint action and the impact when strengthening its results.

With this award the IDB wants to highlight the importance of the R+D-i binomial, where product innovation is a new or improved good or service that differs significantly from the company’s previous goods or services, and through design new opportunities are generated from the field of creativity. The call aims to give visibility to the synergies between knowledge derived from “R & D” and the practice of “R & D”, where innovation and design, are established as potential of the value chain of the company.

This award will discover, stimulate and disseminate the best practices of interaction between Design and Research in the innovative activity of Latin American companies.

The IDB Research and Design Award aims to highlight projects that are the result of a special interaction between design and research. This is the case when research projects have gained visibility thanks to the role of design or when research has played a special role in developing the product or service in a design project.

Image City / UCCI

While we talk about emerging countries or regions, a new and important global phenomenon has appeared among us. That of the emerging cities. Big cities in small countries, small or little known cities in big countries. Cities that are sometimes little known outside their own country or region and that are beginning to achieve relevance at an international level because they know how to occupy a new niche or because they develop a differential activity that makes them unique.

And it is here that the word identity acquires its leading role. The discipline of devising, conceptualizing and designing a city’s brand has become an essential tool of management and public communication and, at the same time, a complex and brilliant professional activity developed by multidisciplinary communication and design teams that are beginning to have excellent practical examples in Latin America.

A good city image brings citizens and visitors closer intellectually and emotionally and has the capacity to summon and bring together ideas, projects, initiatives and objectives representing and amplifying belongings, feelings, emblems and experiences. It is a visual identity that reflects and consolidates a spirit through time and that, without a doubt, should invite people to get to know, enjoy and live the city to which it refers.

Distinguishing good practices, those that not only employ large layers of graphic makeup, but also detect and point out, in a precise manner, the best differentiating qualities and the urban and cultural values of a city, highlighting them visually and semantically, is the objective of this new IDB City Image Award.

Design for Culture

That design is culture is out of question, but does culture have design?

The experience so far is that culture needed design to make book covers, film posters or opera festivals. To present an exhibition or to provide adequate furniture for its installations. The design was a fragmented appendix to materialize the cultural product, to advertise the film or to communicate the program of the opera season.

However, the new artistic proposals or the consolidated cultural institutions need contemporary visual languages to survive or advocate for spaces proposed aesthetically and functionally as one more claim for the users. In the change of cultural paradigm the designers have to be part of the projects of the culture, to be part of the processes of investigation of the new languages adding their tools of design.

In this way, new fields of experimentation are opened to renew and alter the graphic repertoires, recompose the design strategies and incorporate the new tools and technologies to the proposals. Either to communicate through design, through the intervention of the space or the exhibition resources.

The IDB wants to detect proposals, works and ideas linked to this renovation and these new discourses to put them in value. Thus, we invite not only the designers but also the institutions that have promoted proposals in line with this candidacy to participate. The client becomes here a promoter of good design, and as such, can be an ideal candidate for this award.

Design and Design Publications

At the beginning of the 20th century, the production of magazines was in the hands of typographers and printers. It was then when the avant-garde of design took care of making magazines, where they could debate and extend their ideas. A real sample of their experiments and findings.

Today, these objectives remain. Design magazines are an expression of some graphic trend or simply give prizes or disqualifications in equal parts. In the best of cases they organize prestigious events. And of course they seek to set an example and establish some kind of canon. However, with the saturated landscape of publications, discussion groups and design studios acting as editors, the purpose of being a leader is increasingly difficult. Abundant publications such as newspaper supplements, cultural magazines, architecture or life trend magazines are, in themselves, manifestos of graphic and editorial design.

In this sense, the IDB wants to value and reward those honest editorial proposals that fight for the culture of design. They promote debates, show typographies, channel tools, notify complex design processes and spread the work of architects and interior designers who are risky and emerging, while continuing to cultivate the work of masters. And of course, they exercise in their pages the editorial design opening new paths.

Nowadays many of these intentions have been transferred to digital platforms, being in some cases the best expressions of those pioneer concepts. They bring together exquisite design works, reasoned opinions of professionals and criticism of the narrow government policies on the creative industries.

For this reason, the IDB organization has decided to recognize the efforts of these professionals with an award for design publications (printed publications, blogs and collections). These must stand out for their conceptual and formal audacity, as well as for their commitment to communication and publishing linked to the discipline.

For this award will be valued:

  • Brand quality (masthead, masthead typography, semantic value, etc.).
  • The editorial structure (agile fixed sections, opinions, interview prototype, narrative capacity, information complexity, etc.).
  • The page layout (graphic elements, capacity for surprise, typographic play, use of color, etc.).
  • The graphic image (freshness of the photography, schemes or infographics, correct use of the drawing, etc.).
  • The products/community generated (web, book collection, events or awards, design conferences, etc.).

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