February 06, 2020

Announcing 5th Annual Healthier Design Innovation Contest!

Submissions due May 18th, 2020

Many of the materials typically used in art and design today are unhealthy — meaning they pose harm to the planet, present risk to human health, and contribute to our global carbon footprint. There are materials that never biodegrade; can never be recycled; adversely impact frontline communities; and contain harmful chemicals like flame-retardants, antimicrobials, and VOCs.

Impacts of design decisions are far-reaching, inescapable, and indisputable. As designers, the questions we continually ask ourselves are: how does what I make impact the world at large? What materials am I using? Who am I designing for and are my designs inclusive?

How can materials be used in new, healthier, and innovative ways? That’s where you come in!

We will choose winners who exemplify healthy material innovation and advocacy in design. Entries can include models, prototypes, artwork or visual media. We also require documentation of the design process through pictures, drawings/short videos, etc. Another important requirement is an annotated life-cycle diagram summarizing the carbon impact of your design in order to understand how your design responds to the current global climate emergency.


For the first year, we are extending the contest to students outside of the United States. To be eligible to enter, you must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree-seeking design program.

2019 Grand Prize Winner!

We sat down with Role Models grand prize winner to see what he’s been up to since winning our design competition. Garrett Benisch, a student of the Masters in Industrial Design Program at Pratt Institute, reinvented the generic pen for his project Sum Waste. He used the form language of the ordinary disposable pen, but with a twist. His pens are made of biosolids derived from sewage. The pen is an intriguing entry product for the material. Using biosolids was a way to both reuse a material which is continuously produced and discarded, and to move society toward entirely rethinking the concept of waste and its potential uses.

Check out all of 2019’s winners here!

Judging panel coming soon!

Share news of the contest with this printable flyer!

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