Design Guild Mark goes virtual for 2021

The Design Guild Mark is to be judged virtually for the first time in its history in 2021 to ensure the safety of the applicants, judges and staff.

The Design Guild Mark, awarded by The Furniture Makers’ Company, has been distinguishing the excellent from the ordinary in the design of furnishings intended for volume production for more than 10 years.

Traditionally, the panel of independent judges – all experts in the field of design – would examine the submitted pieces and question the designer during a series of judging days in February.

With coronavirus restrictions likely to still be in place in early 2021 and with the safety of all in mind, the Design Guild Mark has taken the decision that for one year only the judging will be done purely online.

Instead of having to transport their piece to a venue for judging, shortlisted designers will be asked to create a three-minute film of their design, exploring its features and explaining how it meets the award criteria.

The film will be watched by the jury ahead of the judging day where the designers will have to present online to the judges, answering any questions they may have about the piece.

Successful designers whose pieces are awarded a Mark will be invited to attend an awards ceremony in May 2021, where winners from both the 2020 and 2021 classes will be celebrated.

Rodney McMahon, Design Guild Mark chairman, said: “We are very interested to see how we can maximise the judging value and feedback using this remote process. Of course I am very disappointed, as are the judges, not to be able to meet the applicants in person and get a feeling of their passion for their work and actually touch and handle the products. 

“However, unique circumstances call for exceptional measures and I am sure that the entrants will rise to the occasion with some creative solutions to the presentation format.”

Designers and companies have until 22 January 2021 to submit applications for the three categories: Furniture, 2D Design (Textiles, Wall Coverings, Surfaces, Carpets and Floor Coverings) and the new Lighting Design category.

Designs awarded a Mark benefit from increased industry and consumer awareness, press and social media coverage, with the designers and companies behind them also receiving enhanced brand recognition.

The piece from each of the three categories deemed to be the most outstanding by the judges will also win the Jonathan Hindle Prize for Excellence – a £1,000 cash prize.

Click here to find out who the judges are.