Recognizing Europe’s design legacy and its role on advancing innovation

The 2024 DesignEuropa Awards in Riga, Latvia, mark a major shift to an annual event, celebrating Europe’s rich design heritage and its role in driving innovation, sustainability, and economic growth.

At the heart of the DesignEuropa Awards is the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)’s commitment to celebrating the talent of designers and their creations. With nearly 88,000 designs filed in 2023 alone, the sheer volume of innovations underscores the vibrant activity in the design sector, with China, Germany, Italy, the United States, and France leading in filings. This surge in registrations highlights the global influence and reach of European design excellence.

João Negrão, the Executive Director of the EUIPO, eloquently captures the essence of the awards and Europe’s design ethos, stating, “Europe is synonymous with world-class design – from our historical roots to today, we see design embedded throughout our culture and economy. The DesignEuropa Awards celebrates and showcases the value of innovative, functional design in Europe.” Negrão’s vision extends to nurturing the next generation of design talent, emphasizing the awards’ role in spotlighting young and emerging designers, a testament to the awards’ forward-looking agenda.

The introduction of the ‘Next Generation Design Award’ category specifically aims to recognize and uplift up-and-coming designers under the age of 29. This initiative not only honors the innovative spirit of young creatives but also aligns with the broader objectives of fostering a culture of innovation and excellence within the design community.

Previous iterations of the awards have celebrated luminaries such as Maria Benktzon, Hartmut Esslinger, Giorgetto Giugiaro, and André Ricard, whose contributions to design have left an indelible mark on our daily lives. From the ergonomic elegance of Benktzon’s coffee pot for Scandinavian Airlines to Esslinger’s iconic designs for Apple, these awards have highlighted the transformative power of design.

The application period remains open until 15 March 2024, welcoming entries from any individual, entity, or institution of any nationality, provided they own a valid registered Community design. The awards feature several categories, each recognizing a unique aspect of design excellence:

  • The Industry Award
  • The Entrepreneurs and Small Companies Award
  • The Next Generation Design Award
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award

Entries are judged by a panel of experts renowned in design, business, and intellectual property. For those interested in applying or nominating someone for these prestigious awards, detailed information and application links are available on the DesignEuropa Awards website

Behind the DesignEuropa Awards is the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the key player in the protection and management of design and trademark registration across the EU, providing a single, unified system for registering trademarks and designs that are recognized in all EU Member States.

This system not only facilitates the protection of creative works but also promotes innovation by ensuring that designers can secure and enforce their rights across the entire EU. Each year, the EUIPO handles around 100,000 design filings, reflecting the vibrant activity and importance of design in Europe’s economy and cultural identity. 

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