公益財団法人日本デザイン振興会 公益財団法人日本デザイン振興会

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Hiroshi Naito
Chairman, Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP)

I am honored to serve as the new Chairman, filling the big shoes left by Mr. Motomi Kawakami. Our signature project, the Good Design Award, continues to flourish under the leadership of the Chair of the Judging Committee. In addition to managing the award, JDP has been steadily promoting design in increasingly diverse fields. Since these activities have been successfully continuing for nearly 70 years, I believe my role as Chairman is to protect that legacy.

We must remember that a product cannot exist unless there are people who wish to buy it. The form of that product is determined by its design. Unfortunately, however, Japanese policy thus far has not prioritized design. This is despite the fact that Japan must rely on foreign income generated by the export of products.

Design has likely thrived in Japan thanks to the wisdom of individual companies. Good products sold well because they were appreciated by the market. Bad products did not last long because they were shunned by the market. In other words, the market judged the quality of products. This system worked well when our economy continued to expand steadily. However, we now face various changes, including climate change, the revolutionary growth of information technology, the rapid aging of our population and changes in our lifestyle due to a maturing economy, and emerging economies that are quickly catching up to us by prioritizing design in their national policies. Given this situation, Japan needs to shift its attitude toward design. JDP and the Good Design Award should play an even greater role in promoting design throughout Japan.

We must also rethink the word “design.” This word, which has only seen casual usage until now, can be developed into a more strategic and creative tool. In recent years, “design” has expanded beyond the design of objects, and has come to refer to a wide range of systems behind objects. Regardless of what it is, I believe that good, attractive design has a “touch of the near future.” Through design, people envision a new way of life, imagine themselves living that life, place their hopes in that future, and try to make that life a reality. Therefore, all designs look towards the future: not a distant and unrealistic future, but a near future that each person can attain. While seeking functional designs that fulfills their needs, people also hope to obtain a “touch of the near future.”

Over the past several decades, many revolutionary devices and technologies have changed the way we live, including cell phones, LCD TVs, computers, the internet, and hybrid cars. These superb objects and systems all have a “touch of the near future.” Filled with countless dreams, they are designed with distinct visions of the near future.

The Good Design Product Selection Program (the predecessor of the Good Design Award) was established in 1957 to support the creation of products that can be sold abroad. Since then, our annual selection process has led to heated discussions on what constitutes “good design.” The definitions of “good” and “design” change with technological innovation and various circumstances of the moment. However, no matter what those circumstances are, the essence of JDP’s activities—to find and evaluate new designs that have a “touch of the near future” and to promote them widely—remains the same.

As the new Chairman, I look forward to ensuring that these excellent activities continue to thrive.

Hiroyuki Fukano
President Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP)

I am pleased to announce that we are now accepting entries for the GOOD DESIGN AWARD 2022.

Today, the world seems as if Pandora's box has been opened, unleashing a variety of challenges. We have yet to emerge from the long tunnel of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent outbreak of international conflicts has cast another dark shadow over our future. Under these difficult circumstances, we continue to experience stressful changes in our lives, including the way we work, educate, communicate with others, and build relations between the public and private sectors.

How can design help us amid such difficulties? Designing is an activity that constantly forces us to ask questions, find our purpose, and achieve our goals. We are facing so many challenges today, from small issues in our daily lives to long-term global problems. It is precisely for that reason that we are increasingly keen to find solutions in design. After Pandora opens the box and various evils fly out into the world, hope remains. And I believe that design can serve as our own hope.

The mission of the GOOD DESIGN AWARD is to discover and share designs that improve our lives, economic activities, and society. It also aims to deepen people’s understanding of the role of design, support various individuals and businesses engaged with design, and drive social progress through design. In FY2021, a record 1,608 designs received the GOOD DESIGN AWARD, reflecting our hope that they make the world a better place.

Eligibility for the GOOD DESIGN AWARD is not limited to designs of tangible “objects.” It also includes designs for “achievements,” such as how people acted or built societal and business structures. In recent years, we have been receiving a growing number of entries from small businesses in Japan and elsewhere, as well as various organizations engaged in social impact and community development.

The Judging Committee spends nearly half a year reviewing the submitted designs from many different angles. The judges, who bring with them diverse perspectives and knowledge, analyze the potential of the designs and find their strengths. Undergoing this process and hearing the judges’ feedback may prove to be a valuable experience for those of you who submit designs.

We hope many of you decide to take on this challenge, and very much look forward to receiving your entries.

April 1, 2022

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