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"Phonosuper" SK4 Phonograph and Radio
"Phonosuper" SK4 Phonograph and Radio, Designed 1956; made 1956-1960
Designed by Dieter Rams, German
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Student Design Competition

This annual event provides university design students the opportunity to experience competition outside the classroom and to receive feedback from nationally recognized industry leaders. Each year’s competition is thematically linked to the work of the Collab Design Excellence Award honoree.

2018 Competition: Small Wonder

The inspiration for this year’s competition is designer Dieter Rams. During his long career, Rams has defined the iconic modern appearance of Braun products while also developing a philosophy for rational, responsible, and enduring design. This year’s competition takes place on Monday, November 12, in the Great Stair Hall.

Design Brief
No single person in history has been responsible for more product design than Dieter Rams, who is known for his minimal “less is better” aesthetic. In the 1970s, Rams became increasingly concerned by the condition of the world around him, “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colors, and noises.” His response was to create Ten Principles of Good Design >>

  • Good design is innovative.
  • Good design makes a product useful.
  • Good design is aesthetic.
  • Good design makes a product understandable.
  • Good design is unobtrusive.
  • Good design is honest.
  • Good design is long-lasting.
  • Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
  • Good design is environmentally friendly.
  • Good design is as little design as possible.

Your challenge is to design a small appliance for the home or office using four or more of Rams’s principles of good design. These four principles must be considered:

  • Good design is innovative.
  • Good design is honest.
  • Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
  • Good design is environmentally friendly.

  • Full Brief & Requirements
    Submissions must be inspired by Dieter Rams as well as reflect a personal perspective. Designs must be reproducible. See full brief and submission requirements >>

    Registration & Submission Deadlines
    • To register, email this form to by Thursday, November 8, 2018.
    • Final materials must be submitted by Monday, November 12, 2018.

    Paolo Cravedi, Tommy Dobrzynski, Jinous Kazemi, Sunny Kim, and Donald Strum
    Learn more about the judges >>

    Paolo Cravedi
    President, Moleskine America, Inc.
    As President of Moleskine since 2018, Paolo Cravedi is responsible for the definition and execution of the company’s strategy in North and South America.

    Tommy Dobrzynski
    President, Vitsœ Ltd
    Tommy Dobrzynski leads Vitsœ in its commitment to trust, integrity, and longevity as it continues working towards the future of intelligent and sustainable design.

    Jinous Kazemi
    Director, Millésimé
    Jinous Kazemi’s lifetime passion for art, ceramics, fashion, jewelry, and design led her to start Millésimé, a lighting and kitchen showroom featuring European modern designs, in Philadelphia.

    Sunny Kim
    Senior Design Manager, OXO
    At OXO, Sunny Kim leads an in-house team of engineers and designers focused on enhancing the user experience of their products through thoughtful innovation and universal design.

    Donald Strum
    Principal, Product Design, Michael Graves Architecture & Design
    Donald Strum’s leadership of product, furniture, and graphic design at Michael Graves Architecture & Design has brought over 2,000 consumer products to market over the past three decades, leading to what has been hailed as of “the democratization of design.”

    First Place: <i>TBD</i> by Liad Yamin of the University of Pennsylvania
    See winning submissions from the 2017 competition.
    View Slideshow >>

    2017 Competition Winners

    The 2017 competition was held in conjunction with the exhibition Patricia Urquiola: Between Craft and Industry. The challenge was to design a piece of furniture that is the focal point of a room and incorporates storage. Judges: Diane Barnes, Catherine Birch, Odile Hainault, Barry Richards, Matt Tyson

    Contact Us

    For more information, please email .

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