The annual Industrial Design Excellence Awards is sponsored by BusinessWeek and juried by the Industrial Designers Society of America. The winners this year used design to push traditional brands into new markets, extend well-known brands into new products, and invent something totally new, cool, and useful.
With money tight, companies used design research to develop not only products but also their branding, packaging, and marketing. The impact of this approach goes far beyond the objects themselves.
Indeed, the biggest winners this year used design -- and top design firms -- to create powerful, emotional consumer experiences. "We have moved from designing iconic objects to designing iconic experiences," says Sohrab Vossoughi, founder of ZIBA Design Inc., which snagged six awards this year, second only to powerhouse IDEO's eight.