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100 Great Designs Receives New York Press Award

By Kristin Gecan

August 3, 2021

The greatest designs of modern times
ID research published by Fortune magazine

In March 2020, just as the US was entering the depths of the pandemic, IIT Institute of Design (ID) and Fortune released the “Greatest Designs of Modern Times.” The list revisited Jay Doblin’s original 1959 list (also published with Fortune).

The new 2020 package, which includes the video embedded below, has won a New York Press Club Award in the category of “Critical Arts Review.” These annual journalism awards honor excellence by writers, reporters, editors, producers, photographers, and multimedia journalists.

Our partner at Fortune, senior editor Daniel Bentley, says:

I’m honored to have won a New York Press Club award for my feature on the 100 Greatest Designs of Modern Times.

The story genesis came from finding a 1958 copy of Fortune which featured a list of 100 great designs compiled by Jay Doblin, former dean of the IIT Institute of Design. I reached out to the school in 2018 to work on an updated list for the 21st century and I was thrilled they came on board to collaborate, do all the heavy lifting of research and surveys and analysis, and to school me on design!”

Earning a New York Press Club Award is no small feat, especially in a pandemic year. Fellow winners include The New York Times, NBC Digital, and The Wall Street Journal, who were recognized for hard-hitting coverage on COVID-19, George Floyd protests, and more.

This award recognition is evidence of the meaningful influence of design in our contemporary world. Our research clarified new criteria for “good design,” as well as an understanding of design’s evolution from over the past 60 years: the focus has moved from designing artifacts and products to designing experiences, from designing “how it looks” to designing “how it works.” Design has gone from “value-adding” to “value-driving.”

This is something to celebrate, particularly in Jay Doblin’s 100th birthday year, as he long ago suggested that such an evolution would take place:

“In the future, pride of ownership and concern for the status support of products will give way to human values—education, intelligence, contributions to society, creativity—and type or number of products owned will diminish in importance.”

More content to come later this year on Jay Doblin’s contributions to design. Meanwhile, ID’s 2020 research report on 100 Great Designs of Modern Times is available here.