The adidas design department, under the guidance of Michael Michalsky, has been chosen as Red Dot design team of the year 2005. Michalsky himself will receive the award on behalf of the whole design team on 4 July 2005 at the "red dot award: product design" ceremony gala in the Aalto Theatre of Essen, Germany.
"Michael Michalsky and his design team have done an excellent job in recent years," stated Professor Peter Zec, the competition's founder, explaining the company's selection as design team of the year. According to Zec, "adidas today pursues an ongoing design strategy that is consistently followed throughout all areas of the company. Directed by Michalsky, adidas has managed a fine balancing act between the company's reorientation towards its roots and the demands of a modern and young target group, between sports and lifestyle, between fashion and high-tech."
Design for the Times
The world of sport has changed. Today sport is omnipresent; millions of people all around the globe watch every Formula One race, every football game, every track, and field championship. Sportspersons have become media stars, populating talk shows and the tabloid press. Sport is no longer just about athletes and events; it is also about who the sportspersons are, what they stand for - and what they wear. Today, sport is also lifestyle; sports apparel sets trends.
Due not least to this development, design is growing in significance for the sports goods industry: design has become the crucial factor for success when it comes to linking customers to the brand or developing new target groups. Thus, competition within the industry turns into a competition between designs and brands. adidas is an outstanding example of how a company can regain a leading position in a tough international market through the implementation of a consistent design philosophy and the creation of a professional design department. With the title "red dot: design team of the year," the Design Zentrum now honors the course that adidas has taken in recent years and which has been steered largely by the performance of Michael Michalsky and his design team.
With the design of its products, adidas has responded to changes in consumer demands, yet at the same time it has continued to supply sports apparel with the same familiar quality. To achieve this, a three-division structure was created.
Each division addresses a particular target group and has its own logo: Sport Heritage (the street style line), Sport Performance (classic sports apparel), and Sport Style in collaboration with the Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto (sporting fashion). Thus, despite some initial disorientation following the deaths of Adi Dassler towards the end of the 1980s and, only a couple of years later, of his son, adidas today, thanks to a consistent brand and design strategy, again ranks among the leaders in the highly competitive sports apparel industry.
The Adidas Design Team
When Michael Michalsky joined adidas as Chief Designer for sports apparel in 1995, the apparel department did not yet have a design team. It consisted of several freelance designers who created the collection. Each designer brought in his own concepts and ideas, tied together by the three stripes as the only common element to identify the resulting products as adidas. Michalsky remembers: "When I started at adidas, the design department was considered as something of an accessory. Many marketing people at the time were of the opinion that they were only in need of designers because they themselves could not draw particularly well. This has changed entirely and today we have a lot of influence within the company."
Today, approximately 200 designers from ten nations are working under the guidance of "Global Creative Director" Michael Michalsky - in 1992, it was just 21 designers worldwide. There are now three teams; one at the company's headquarters in Herzogenaurach, another one in Portland for the American market, and a third one in Tokyo for Japan and Asia. The work of the designers, however, is not limited merely to designing products. Design is a leading constituent element in many product ranges: two-thirds of all new product concepts are created in the design department - in close collaboration with the adidas Innovation Team, the corporation's development department. Thus, adidas launches an average of more than 500 new products each year.
Award-winning design teams from the past years
2005 adidas Design Team, Michael Michalsky
2004 Pininfarina Design Team
2003 Nokia Design Team
2002 Apple Industrial Design Team
2001 Festo Design Team
2000 Sony Design Team
1999 Audi Design Team
1998 Philips Design Team
1997 Michele De Lucchi Design Team
1996 Ideo Design Team, Bill Moggridge
1995 Siemens Design Team, Herbert Schultes
1994 Mercedes-Benz Design Team, Bruno Sacco
1993 frogdesign, Hartmut Esslinger
1992 Neumeister Design, Alexander Neumeister
1991 Moll Design, Reiner Moll & Partner
1990 Slany Design Team
1989 Braun Design Team
Photo: Red Dot