Tips from the jury of the FDS Award design competition

We asked the FDS Award judges to whom they would recommend the design competition, now being held for the third time, and what they expect from the product ideas. Read the tips and submit your work by June 14th!

FDS AWARD, ORGANIZED by Finnish Design Shop, is an open design competition where the brief is to design a home product particularly well suited for e-commerce. In honor of Finnish Design Shop’s 15th anniversary, the jury is composed of five design professionals from the Finnish online store: Buyer Hanna Mäkelä, Buyer Ville Syrjänen, New Business Manager Kaisa Kivelä, COO Reetta Noukka, and CEO and founder Teemu Kiiski. See the jury’s tips and participate – the submission deadline is June 14th, 2019.

Hanna Mäkelä

Hanna Mäkelä, Buyer

Why should one take part in the FDS Award competition?
“The FDS Award competition is a real opportunity to get your design into production and then onto the international market. At Finnish Design Shop, we have a broad set of skills and comprehensive knowledge both in contemporary design and in doing business. We are truly open to all submitted designs and do not require them to have the correct format, nor do we require that the designers have a certain educational background or an established brand.”

“The FDS Award competition is a real opportunity to get your design into production and then onto the international market.”

To whom or to what kinds of designers would you recommend FDS Award?
“I hope that everyone with a good and feasible design idea takes part in the FDS Award competition. Even if you don’t make it to the top spot this time, participating in the competition is always much-needed experience for young designers.”

What do you expect from the pieces in the running?
“I am looking forward to new and surprising ideas that are reflective of their era, as well as feasible design and business-minded thinking. I hope to see designs that, in addition to the quality and appearance of the product, show attention has been paid to its storage and factors affecting its shipping. Sustainability is essential in terms of the design, materials and production, as we think about current and future design. At Finnish Design Shop, we work with thousands of design products every day, so it would be great if one of the submissions presented us with something we haven’t seen before.”

Ville Syrjänen

Ville Syrjänen, Buyer

Why should one take part in the FDS Award competition?
“In addition to taking part for the prize itself, you could do so for the global visibility that competition winners get, even if the product doesn’t end up in production. The competition is a brilliant opportunity to challenge yourself and test out your own idea. And of course, in the best-case scenario you will also find a manufacturer for your product, which is likely a goal for every designer!”

To whom or to what kinds of designers would you recommend FDS Award?
“To anyone who identifies with our values and brand, and has a good idea and a plan to make it happen for a product that will be sold online and sustainably and profitably produced.”

What do you expect from the pieces in the running?
“That they have taken note of realistic opportunities for production and that the work displays something clearly new in terms of its use, design and/or materials. In a good project, the new idea usually speaks for itself and is rather subtle.”

Kaisa Kivelä

Kaisa Kivelä, New Business Manager

Why should one take part in the FDS Award competition?
“There is value to competitions dealing purely with ideas, but FDS Award is a concrete opportunity to get visibility and traction for a good idea in such a way that it can even end up in industrial production and in people’s homes.”

To whom or to what kinds of designers would you recommend FDS Award?
“To up-and-comers with a desire to break through in the design industry, both in Finland and abroad. To creators that want to be involved in developing their product idea all the way to the production phase.”

What do you expect from the pieces in the running?
“High-level aesthetics and good usability, an understanding of sustainable development as well as practicality in terms of production and shipping.”

Is there anything you would like to add?
“Simplicity is beautiful. Authenticity speaks to me.”

Reetta Noukka

Reetta Noukka, COO

Why should one take part in the FDS Award competition?
“The winners of the competition will have quite a unique opportunity for international visibility. The competition is followed by hundreds of thousands of eyes, including potential customers, designer colleagues and representatives of design brands, who are always looking for new and interesting products.”

To whom or to what kinds of designers would you recommend FDS Award?
“To anyone with something new to bring to the design scene! Winning the competition is especially beneficial to designers who want to get their ideas into production and onto the market. The FDS Award jury members have decades of experience in judging what kind of design and types of products succeed internationally, and that’s why they can help in commercializing products and fine-tuning concepts.”

“Timelessness, open-mindedness and attention paid in the piece to both the end-user and sustainable development will get my vote.”

What do you expect from the pieces in the running?
“I expect that we will be surprised and see something completely new. Timelessness, open-mindedness and attention paid in the piece to both the end-user and sustainable development will get my vote.”

Is there anything you would like to add?
“In this competition, the idea is everything. Because designs can be submitted electronically, you don’t need an actual prototype. Use your time on developing the idea, concept and story.”

Teemu Kiiski

Teemu Kiiski, CEO

Why should one take part in the FDS Award competition?
“As previous years have shown us, the competition has truly helped designers find producers for their products. Finnish Design Shop works with almost 200 different brands that are actively looking for new products. We are a respected partner to these brands, and they pay close attention to our views on a product’s prospects for sales.”

To whom or to what kinds of designers would you recommend FDS Award?
“The FDS Award competition is suitable for both designers at the start of their career and those with more experience. A designer who has already built up a reputation may have a product idea that hasn’t found the right manufacturer, even though their career is flying steady. Our mission is to get all good products into production, no matter if they’ve been designed by beginners or more established players.”

What do you expect from the pieces in the running?
“Good design stands the test of time and use, both in terms of its aesthetics and other qualities. Considering this from the perspective of sustainable development, this is an even more important requirement for a good product this day and age. Good design takes the product’s entire life cycle into account, including its production, distribution, logistics, usage and finally, recycling.”

See also:

• The FDS Award rules and programme >
Three success stories of the FDS Award design competition >

Editing: Sabiina Aalto and Laura Hallikainen Photos: Timo Villanen

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