WORK / Article In the Blast Furnace Together – Red Dot Awards 2017

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Brian Stephens

Chairman & Founder

Brian Stephens is chairman and founder of Design Partners. He graduated in Industrial Design from Birmingham City University in 1978. He is Member Institute of Designers in Ireland, and recieved the Lifetime Achievement Award from IDI in 2012.



International design scene convenes in Essen’s Aalto-Theatre, Design Partners CEO, Brian Stephens comes home inspired

The Red Dot awards Ceremony has been an important event in my calendar ever since we won our first award for highest design quality for the Logitech Trackman Live presenter in 1997. We were delighted to win six awards across our three categories this year. (Find out more about the six products here).

This year at the 2017 Red Dot Award Ceremony there was a real sense of bonding of a community of clients and designers. Canyon bikes from Koblenz won the coveted Design Team of the year award, their work clearly showing the vast amount of talent and human effort that goes into making any successful product brand. Accepting the award, Roman Arnold the CEO, dramatically turned from the audience and spoke directly to his 26-person design team to tell them publicly how important each one of them is to the success of their product and their brand. True for them and true for us all.

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It is clear from listening to both clients and colleagues from all over the world at the Red Dot awards 2017  last night that we are all in this same boat together. Events like this allow everyone to take time out to party, talk to each other and to see our work as judged by others. People who make products love what they do, care deeply about the user’s experience (and so they should) and strive to hone all sorts of materials both exotic and commonplace into beautiful objects of utility and desire.

Fair enough, this was a rarefied insider group congratulating each other about the awards we gave ourselves. But for better or worse this sort of gathering just has to happen. Behind every successful product both simple and complex, far too many hours have already been spent; tentative first sketches, broken models, nervy leadership meetings and the constantly shifting sands of deadlines and product spec.

The Red Dot awards and others like it are proof that vision beats pragmatism and that striving for excellence pays off in the long term not just for the self-conscious coven of design insiders but for the satisfaction of the end user and for the bottom line of our clients.