red dot design awards: adidas chosen as design team of the year 2005

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“Michael Michalsky and his design team have done an excellent job in recent years,” states Professor Peter Zec, the competition’s founder, explaining the company’s selection as design team of the year. According to Zec, “adidas today pursues an ongoing design strategy that is consistently followed throughout all areas of the company. Directed by Michalsky, adidas has managed a fine balancing act between the company’s reorientation towards its roots and the demands of a modern and young target group, between sports and lifestyle, between fashion and high-tech.”

When Michael Michalsky joined adidas as Chief Designer for sports apparel in 1995, the apparel department did not yet have a design team. It consisted of several freelance designers who created the collection. Each designer brought in his own concepts and ideas, tied together by the three stripes as the only common element to identify the resulting products as adidas. Michalsky remembers: “When I started at adidas, the design department was considered as something of an accessory. Many marketing people at the time were of the opinion that they were only in need of designers because they themselves could not draw particularly well. This has changed entirely and today we have a lot of influence within the company.” Today, approximately 200 designers from ten nations are working under the guidance of “Global Creative Director” Michael Michalsky – in 1992, it was just 21 designers worldwide. There are now three teams; one at the company’s headquarters in Herzogenaurach, another one in Portland for the American market, and a third one in Tokyo for Japan and Asia. The work of the designers, however, is not limited merely to designing products. Design is a leading constituent element in many product ranges: two-thirds of all new product concepts are created in the design department – in close collaboration with the adidas Innovation Team, the corporation’s development department. Thus, adidas launches an average of more than 500 new products each year.

The red dot design award is one of the oldest and most sought-after design awards world-wide. Since 1955, outstanding design quality has been elected annually and officially honoured in exhibitions by the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen.
The Jury is the heart of the red dot design award because it guarantees the objectivity and airness which gives the competition its world-wide significance.
The 24 jurors from fourteen countries are internationally acknowledged design experts. The product selection criteria includes degree of innovation, functionality, formal quality, symbolic and emotional content as well as ergonomic and ecological qualities.

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