Product design awards are important and those who have been fortunate enough to win one or even be nominated have a reason to be proud. Like with many industries, the concept of awards is not the patting of oneself on the back that those outside the industry would often perceive it. In fact, it is a way to bring to light outstanding skill, innovation or contribution within a field, and also a catalyst for future innovation and a continued striving for excellence by all in an industry. It is also, as our civilization would demand, a way of acknowledging the great accomplishments of those who have worked so hard to do wonderful things, and whom deserve the recognition. There are more than a few product design awards coming up this year and all bear keeping an eye out. Let’s look at three big ones to be aware of. These are some of the more significant and coveted awards in product design, and encompass artistic, industrial and engineering skill in varying mixtures depending on the award. #1 – The Red Dot Award This is one of the most highly sought design awards in practical industries and for good reason. The privileges of a Red Dot award are extensive and most excellent. Aside from the coveted Red Dot label, which earns immense clout for those who may sport it, it also grants inclusion of high prestige in the Red Dot yearbook publication. This is one of the big publications in design, and its contents are revered by those whom read it. If your design team or your company manages to win a Red Dot award, then congratulations, you must have deserved it. But, if you want to win this award, you have your work cut out for you – 2012’s design team of the year was Porsche! #2 – International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) The IDEA award is recognized on six continents as an indication of innovation, pioneering and excellence. Companies or design teams that are even nominated for this award often see coverage by major design periodicals, both in print and online, as well as a surge of interest from investors, customers and others. Winning an IDEA? That’s an accomplishment, and if you manage to do so, you know you’re on top of the design field on so many levels. IDEA is a cerebral award celebrating innovation and new thinking, where Red Dot is about the concrete and beautiful blend of form and function. #3 – International Forum of Design Award (iF) The iF award tends to focus more around digital and technological design innovations, but is not limited to them. While not quite as prestigious as the Red Dot or IDEA awards, that doesn’t mean this isn’t an accomplishment to be nominated for or to actually win. Like the others, it carries prestige that will grant much public coverage as well as a label worth being proud of. Winning an iF award is not a small feat, so if you manage it, then you really have something special. These are three of the biggest, most prestigious product design awards to be watching out for this year, though more are sure to come as the field broadens and encompasses more and more.