Design Matters Wins the 2011 People’s Design Award

The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum presented its sixth People’s Design Award to Design Matters, a show about design and culture, Thursday, Oct. 20, at its 12th annual National Design Awards gala in New York. White House Social Secretary Jeremy Bernard and musician and fashion designer Pharrell announced the winning design and presented the award to Design Matters creator Debbie Millman.

After thousands of votes were cast during the course of the People’s Design Award competition, Design Matters emerged as the public’s favorite design. Offered as a free design podcast, Design Matters features interviews with designers, artists and cultural leaders, including Lawrence Weiner, Barbara Kruger, Malcolm Gladwell, Eric Kandel, Stefan Sagmeister, John Maeda, Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones, Michael Arad, Milton Glaser, Massimo Vignelli, Paula Scher, Steven Heller, Jonah Lehrer, among others.

Launched in 2005 on Voice America Business Network, Design Matters is now exclusively published on Design Observer and all broadcasts can be downloaded for free on iTunes. Under the editorial direction of William Drenttel, Design Observer encompasses five channels of programming and publishes more than 400 essays and features a year on design, urbanism, social innovation and visual culture.

“Design Matters harnesses the power of online radio to communicate insights about design, great design minds and the lives of designers,” said Bill Moggridge, director of the museum. “I’m thrilled that the public has chosen to honor it.”

Previous winners of the People’s Design Award include Marianne Cusato, designer of the Katrina Cottage, Toms Shoes, the Zōn Hearing Aid, the Trek Lime Bicycle and the Braille Alphabet Bracelet.

National Design Awards are made possible in part by Bloomberg.
Media sponsorship is provided by Fast Company.
National Design Week is made possible in part by the generous sponsorship of Target.

National Design Awards and National Design Week professional supporters include AIGA | the professional association for design, American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, American Society of Interior Designers, American Society of Landscape Architects, Architecture and Design Film Festival, Industrial Designers Society of America New York City and Interaction Design Association.

About the People’s Design Award

Launched Sept. 21, the People’s Design Award website received more than 100 nominations and thousands of votes. By logging on to, users were able to browse and vote from the existing nominees or upload images to nominate a new object. Among this year’s nominees were the High Line, the iPad2, the Aqua Building and WordPress software.

The People’s Design Award is part of Cooper-Hewitt’s largest public education initiative, National Design Week, Oct. 15 though Oct. 23. The museum offers a series of public programs and a range of online resources for students, teachers, design professionals and the general public to celebrate the important role that design plays in all aspects of daily life. In recognition of the importance of design education, organizations and schools nationwide also will sponsor events during National Design Week.

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