»Comparing apples
and oranges is my
daily bread.«

Juli Gudehus

The Ehrenpreis für Gestaltung

In 2012 I initiated a design award called »Ehrenpreis für Gestaltung« – »Honourable Prize for Design«.

Maybe you wonder whether a prize is not already honourable in itself? And maybe you think of prizes like the Pulitzer prize or the Nobel prize where the laureates have nothing to do but to achieve greatness, and maybe hold a speech of thanks, and accept a considerable sum of money, and address the worldwide press. Yes. But there are prizes that you need to pay for before you can be awarded by them. 

There are a considerable number of German design awards with that concept. I think of them more as a business model, and that is fine with me. I do not need to take part in them. However, being nominated for the official German State Prize for Design, only to be asked to pay an absurd sum to actually receive it – that made me angry! Do I not pay taxes already?

Together with two dozen of my colleagues, I conceptualized and organized an alternative model inspired by the example of the German »Bundesverdienstkreuz«. Any German can nominate any other German for this honourable, if rather antiquated prize, based on the nominee’s exceptional achievements and commitments. The German Bundespräsident bestows the medals, shakes hands, clinks glasses of champagne with the laureates, and that is it. 

»Ehrenpreis« – »honourable prize« in German is also the name of a little, bright blue flower – »Veronica« in English – that is said to have magic powers. You find it on every meadow, but it is often overlooked. Just like design. So this connection seemed rather apt.

Here you can see the works of design that have been recommended for the Ehrenpreis so far.

The Ehrenpreis has been resting for a while now because we could not afford to spend time and money for more than one and a half years on that project. We miss a reliable source of capital. A patron or, why not financial support by the German government?

I stay confident that at a given time the Ehrenpreis will get going again.

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