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What Are the Best Things About Being an iF Award Jury Member?

In April each year iF Design Award’s illustrious annual ceremony takes place in Berlin. A major highlight in the industry’s calendar, the occasion sees 75 gold winners accept their trophies on stage as part of a glamorous showcase which draws designers from all over the world. This year’s awards were first announced in March following an intensive judging process carried out by experts working across the design industry. After an online preselection stage that reduces roughly half of the applicants, remaining candidates are assessed by a final jury specially assembled by iF in Berlin. Having been selected for previous years, the PDR Director Jarred Evans was invited once again to join the panel for 2024. Below he talks through his experience, including what he enjoys most about the process and what it takes for designs to win big.

What makes the iF Awards so appealing?

“Some of the things that attract me to the iF Design competition are its quality, its independence, its rigour and its professionalism. These are all elements that are very visible when working as a juror.

It’s a hugely demanding, highly enjoyable and rather exhausting role, but I’ve never failed to be completely inspired and uplifted both the quality and execution of some of the designs we review, and by the knowledge, energy, experience and expertise of the jury members in Berlin each year.”

What does the judging process entail?

“Focusing on the second round of judging which I was involved in, the juror is placed within a small team of experts, all with considerable experience in their specific field. I was involved as a juror in the medical devices and healthcare category, something I’ve been heavily involved in for over 30 years. Together with my two other jurors we review as a group each design entry that has passed through to the second round. It’s demanding but the assessment is clearly structured around specific criteria, with which we are supported by an iF member of staff and a digital scoring tool. We each will have different perspectives and one thing I’ve noticed is common across all jury members is their passion and belief in design.”

What are the best things about being an iF Award jury member?

“The people you are with. Without a doubt. The iF staff and the other jurors are an absolute pleasure to be around. If you are someone that loves design – if it’s a passion, a hobby, a calling as much as a profession – then imagine the joy of being around a hundred or so others just like you. I learn and get inspired so much by the talent and perspective of the other jurors and iF staff. It’s genuinely a privilege.”

What does it take to win an iF Award? 

“There is a very obvious answer to this in terms of quality, execution and in performing well against the key scoring criteria as laid out in the iF Design process. iF are very transparent about this process and clear on the standard needed to secure a win.

The less obvious answer takes us to perhaps what good design really is. It’s more than just great functionality, performance or aesthetics. It’s when there’s a little magic as well as logic within a presented design. Something that goes beyond simple delivery and allows the talent of the designer to shine through.”

What did you learn that PDR could apply?

“We have long history of engagement in iF and a good track record of success. It’s difficult to attribute learnings simply to a design trend or material choice – there’s something more – something about calibration, about wanting to place your design outcomes amongst your peers, to share and learn from them. It’s an ongoing thing and an affirmation of wanting to improve, stay sharp, relevant and to try and remain amongst the best out there.”

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