Winning Designs of the Marksman Design Award 2005 - 2006

Winning Designs of the Marksman Design Award 2005 - 2006

Winning design takes advantage of an important development: Voice-over-IP communications

More than 300 designs from all over the world: that is the result of the fifth edition of the Marksman Design Award. Students had to design a product for the Marksman collection, and were challenged to make a non-traditional design for what is seen as a traditional market, mobile electronic business accessories. Due to its dual function as a laptop microphone and voice memo recorder, the winning design takes advantage of one of the trends in business communication: calling via internet.

With a total of 872 applications from 183 design courses in 48 countries, the Marksman Design Award has broken records. The quality of the more than 300 entries in terms of creativity, presentation and originality is simply superb. An important element was commercial viability, and the students were asked to keep the production costs of the gift within US$ 15. For the first time in this worldwide competition, all winners came from Europe.

Available and Affordable Technology
The young student designers participating in this year's competition have grown up with mobile communications and computing, technologies that have developed at lightning speed over the last few years. Whereas students taking part in earlier editions of this competition were more limited by available technology, the boundaries of possibility now seemed to have expanded so much that the only limit is the designer's imagination! And despite of this, the winning designs had distinct human qualities.

MI.K: A Benchmark for Young Designers
The unanimously winner of the Marksman Design Award 2005-2006 is the "MI.K" laptop voice memo recorder and microphone from Andre Gouveia of the Faculty of Fine Arts of Lisbon in Portugal. The jury was impressed by its combination of timeless design, excellent presentation and functionality that meets the needs of today"s mobile business community. It also makes it a great gift, one that will be used for activities like Voice-over-IP. The jury called it "a benchmark for young designers, and a product that underlines the Marksman values". As winner of the first prize Andre Gouveia receives US$ 10,000, and the design may be included in the Marksman collection.

Playful and Fun: Thoughtful and Healthy
It was a close run competition for second and third places. The second prize eventually went to the "Snake" from student Tamás Telekes of the Hungarian University of Arts and Design in Budapest, who receives US$ 2,500. This simple USB hub is playful and fun, as well as functional. The third prize, and the prize money of US$ 1,000, went to "Breathe": a thoughtful creation from Rita Botelho of the Faculty of Fine Arts of Lisbon in Portugal. As a USB powered ionic air purifier, it improves the quality of the air for the weary business traveler. Four other entries were chosen as "honorable mentions", and each designer receives US$ 625.

Anonymous Judging
Uniquely for the competition, two of the top three designs came from the same university, and two of four honorable mentions also came from the Academy of Fine Arts Warsaw in Poland. Judging takes place anonymously under strict ICSID guidelines, and jury members have no knowledge of the identity or country of origin of the entrants. One of the five designs originally selected by the jury for an honorable mention, turned out to be the work of two students whereas only the work of individual students is accepted. This means that only four honorable mentions are included in this year"s prizewinners.

A Jury Panel from All World Regions
The Marksman Design Award composes an international jury for each edition, all leading designers. A selection criterion is that the members of the jury should be an authority on the theme, which is this year "mobile electronic business accessory". Chairman of the jury was Eero Miettinen, Group Design Director of Nokia Design. Other members of the jury were Michelle Berryman, talented industrial designer and Executive Vice President of the Industrial Designers Society of America, and Darlie O Koshy, the Executive Director and Head of the National Institute of Design in India. Commercial viability has become a more important aspect in the design contest, which is why PF Concept International"s Product Director Albert van der Veen and R&D Director Tjeerd Dijkstra took seats in the jury. They judged the designs on originality, functionality, commercial viability and compatibility with the Marksman collection. Production feasibility and motivation were taken into consideration.

Next Edition Marksman Design Award
The next Marksman Design Award will take place in 2007-2008. The theme for this new edition will be published in 2007.

The Marksman Collection and PF Concept International
The Marksman collection is the premium brand of PF Concept International, one of the biggest producers of business gifts in Europe, Asia and the USA. The Marksman Design Award not only strengthens bonds with the young global design community, it also reaffirms the company"s commitment to extending the boundaries of what is seen as a typically conservative world. The young designers face an interesting paradox: they are given the chance to prove themselves in a competitive commercial environment, yet asked to break down the traditional barriers in business gifts.

1st Prize: MI.K Dual function microphone and voice memo recorder for the laptop
With its voice memo recorder functionality, the user can easily record thoughts and comments for later transcription. Because the design also functions as a microphone, the "MI.K" is ideal for Voice-over-IP communications, taking advantage of one of the trends in modern communication. Inspired by today"s communications devices, the "MI.K" laptop microphone also draws on the characteristics of classic fifties microphones, creating a "modern, old school" device. Its cylinder shape closely fits the human hand, while its hinged USB connector makes it easy to position at a laptop for good sound reception. While not entirely new, the execution is very human and inviting. With a few control buttons Andre Gouveia makes it extremely easy to understand and operate - just like a traditional microphone.

"It has a hint of classic microphone design, but avoids being retro", said one jury member. The designer had considered form and function, and excelled in both. "What more can a student do?" was the general impression of this unanimous winner.


2nd Prize: Snake A "connect easy" foldable USB hub
The "Snake" is a four-input USB hub in a fascinating chain-like format. Intended for travel, office and even at home, it is interesting and playful, and folding it into its many permutations is fun and relaxing. The USB connector folds into the first link, while the cable is neatly wrapped into the device, preventing tangles in transit. Tamás Telekes targeted the design at executives who are continuously moving as well as younger people working on their travels.

The words of one jury member sum up the Snake nicely. "It is an astonishing redesign of an existing thing. I can even see myself playing with it." Another jury member commented on its fresh look, combined with a fun aspect. "The concept is so versatile, the "Snake" could actually grow, for example, incorporating more inputs."

Breathe by Rita Botellio

3rd Prize: Breathe A USB-powered ionizer
"Breathe" brings the gift of healthy air to weary business travelers. It is a USB powered ionic air purifier that is based on a piezoelectric ceramic transformer that releases negative ions into the air. "Breathe" is perfect for executives who spend time working where electronic equipment, fluorescent lamps, man-made fibers, and air conditioning lower the negative ion content of the air. For her design, Rita Botelho was inspired by the collision of water droplets with solids, a natural phenomenon that generates negative ions.

With its almost Eastern philosophical qualities, the "Breathe" ionizer impressed the jury. "It"s like giving the gift of health", one jury member said, continuing, "I believe health is an important direction, particularly in the developing world".

Honorable Mentions

HUBble : A USB Stick File Swapping Device
Designed for exchanging files on USB sticks on the fly, the "HUBble" features an internal hard disk drive and a rechargeable battery as used in MP3 players. It makes it unnecessary to boot a laptop or PC to swap files. The friendly user interface features an LCD display that shows the files on both USB sticks, and a joystick button like on a GSM phone to navigates through the functions and to select files to copy.

"Useful and useable", said a jury member of the "HUBble", adding that it was so well designed that it could be picked up and put to immediate use. "It is well presented and professionally packaged", and easily earned its place in the last seven.

bubble groen

Bubble Speakers : A PC Speaker Set
In this PC speaker set, the designer rediscovered the old form of a popular product. The design examines at the relationship between user and product. Functionality is only part of this: other aspects include trends, fashion, tradition, and even history. The spherical form, like two parts of an apple, is rooted in our tradition, making the product more human. The "Bubble speakers" are made using three simple injection molds and readily available cables connectors.

"I can see the Ball speakers on my laptop", was endorsement enough from one jury member. The simplicity of the design that fits in the language of current iPod-inspired trends, was another compliment aimed at these speakers.

Memory and Time

Memory and Time
The "Memory and time" is a combination of the classic pocket watch and contemporary USB stick. It displays available memory like a familiar pie chart, and when not in use, displays analog time. Fusing the old and new, it redefines the concept of the pocket watch. "Memory and time" has an elegant stainless steel case, a traditional chunky chain, a dark red display and a slide-out USB connector that is cleverly concealed underneath.

The jury was very enthusiastic about the physical beauty of the "Memory and time" pocket watch: "A beautiful object, spectacular styling and well thought out". Now it only remains the question if it is possible to make it so nice.

Infopad : A Rollable Display Based on E-Ink Technology
If knowledge is power in this global community, the "Infopad" empowers the business traveler. It stimulates interaction and communication between cultures, and enables people to acquire personalized knowledge wherever they are. With its A4 size, "Infopad" rolls up like a conventional newspaper, emulating a familiar object, yet provides all kind of compressed knowledge that informs about global affairs. It is based on UMTS technology, and downloads pages from the Internet via the USB connector.

Although the idea of an electronic newspaper has been around for quite a while, no design competition could feel complete without one - such is the importance of this type of information carrier. "It pushes the concept business gift to another level, keeping it alive", said a jury member.

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