The evolution of the competition: from NWDI (Northwest Design Invitational) to The Shaggies

When the time came to update the NWDI (Northwest Design Invitational), we decided that we didn’t want to take the typical designers-in-their-towers-coming-down-once-a-year-to-kiss-each-other-on-the-backside-for-their-shiny-offspring approach to design awards.

We wanted something different, something with fewer hyphens. We wanted to create a competition that is outward-facing, open, and supportive of the ways that design is being practiced today.

Why? Because design has expanded. Even inside the context of traditional industrial design, the creation of compelling products has become more collaborative and interdisciplinary, growing outside the housing to influence the environment, as well as people’s behaviors.

This being the Northwest*, we’re known for the outdoors, openness, contemplativeness and, well, moss. So, for IDSA NW’s competition, our goal was to reflect the future of design with a touch of what’s in our bones: a soft, fuzzy, curious nature that’s wrapped in a smart, hard-working, exacting layer of high-standards.

So as you can see, the first step was to update the competition – with a compelling name, more expansive categories, a fresh furry look, and an event that will be, let’s just say cutting edge.

Looking forward to 2013, we’re chomping at the bit to involve an educational component to the event (beyond the Student Work category), where we reach out to primary and secondary schools. We have seen the power that sugary cereals have on our children and would like to harness that kind of energy in awakening the appreciation of design with the young.

This is an ongoing evolution of Shagginess, in order to bring design into contact with the public, to make design approachable, accessible, and maybe even enjoyable.


*We here at The Shaggies cast a wide net when we say “Northwest.” We consider Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, British Columbia, and Alberta down right northerly west. So if you happen to be from any of these fantastic states or provinces, submit your mind-blowing projects to The Shaggies.