Irish designers- IDI awards Ireland

I’m aware that design competitions are far from fair, products are normally not experienced in use and the crowd vote is unfair. But at least online competitions do provide media coverage for young designers. As a design student, I often get emails asking me to submit an entry to the IDI awards in Dublin ( but after looking into it I’m really surprised this thing exists and I don’t understand the benefits of taking part exactly. I’m curious to know what other Irish designers think? and if they have ever entered?

Just to enter a design you have to pay €55 for initial submissions, with an additional charge of €25 per entry!

This means only people willing to pay are even competing, if I entered I would basically be paying for an award. Whats worse is that it tends to attract little media attention, so theres not really the possibility of exposure. This is in my opinion a members club which makes people pay for petty awards. To become a ‘full member’ of the IDI it costs €225 and this allows you voting rights for other peoples designs. Basically, the more you pay, the more voting rights you have. This would completely skew results, and provides a judging panel of people who may not be knowledgeable in design by any means, but paid to be a judge.

In Ireland this is the only annual design competition I am familiar with and I think it should be more student friendly, trying to push the next generation of products. It should be exciting. They call themselves ‘The Institute of Designers in Ireland’ but don’t be fooled by the title. If your a student in Ireland and you need exposure, save your money, your looking right at all you need: The Internet.

I perfectly agree with your post. The best form of exposure is and always has been international news, customer interest, popular media, mainstream magazines and online blogs. Many other kinds are simply inferior and can’t compete.

The fee justifies itself. You are paying someone to judge your work, and that’s it. I’m really surprised that in the age of mass blogging and social media, those IDI guys have still managed to get going.

Finally, the purpose of design is not to get awards, but to appeal to people and solve problems. So the best award is not given by another designer, but by the users. The best course of action is to look for better and most cost-effective ways for you to gain exposure.

I’m not sure what the IDI’s relationship is like with other design disciplines but it seems to be lacking in relation to ID. During college we had little interaction with them, the awards were mentioned but most were put off by the cost of entry/lack of enthusiasm around the event. In my current employment, again, I have no interaction with them and it seems pretty pointless to become a member looking at the events calender. I really think it would be a great place for the professional ID scene in Ireland to interact with students but it is yet to happen.
I’ve noticed design partners are becoming more active with both students and professionals to promote ID in Ireland with a talk on international design day (IDI organised it tbf) and a student design project for Maynooth and NCAD?
There’s also a few interesting events lined up for Design Week in November although Im not sure how much of an input IDI have in this.

The Dyson Award is a decent competition however it doesn’t cater to all project types.