National Design Awards

The words "National Design Awards" appear in white on a multi-colored gradient background.

About the Awards

Cooper Hewitt plans to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the National Design Awards in spring 2025. The nomination process will begin in 2024 and winners will be announced and celebrated in 2025. Between now and then, you can expect to see our programming calendar populated throughout the year with the contributions and voices of our roster of over 200 renowned winners from the past 25 years.

The National Design Awards is a Cooper Hewitt initiative launched in 2000 as an official project of the White House Millennium Council. The awards and its associated public programs seek to increase national awareness of the impact of design in our everyday life.

Reflecting the ever-growing scope of design, the National Design Awards program currently includes ten award categories:

  • Design Visionary
  • Climate Action
  • Emerging Designer
  • Architecture
  • Communication Design
  • Digital Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Interior Design
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Product Design

In addition to the annual awards ceremony, Cooper Hewitt integrates National Design Award winners in a series of educational programs happening throughout the year and during National Design Week.

In the past, Cooper Hewitt has extended these programming opportunities through National Design Month and NDA CITIES. NDA Cities was an initiative that brought design programs, workshops, and panel discussions to communities around the country.

Selection Process

Read more about the National Design Awards categories, selection process, and eligibility.


The Asterisk Trophy

The National Design Awards trophy was originally designed in a twisted asterisk form by William Drenttel and Jessica Helfand in 2000. The trophy is the physical embodiment of the National Design Awards celebration of innovation and impact in American design. For the first decade, the trophies were produced by Saint-Gobain Advanced Ceramics, a world leader in the habitat and construction markets. In 2010, Smart Design, that year’s winner in Product Design, recreated the original trophy in a new stainless-steel composite material. In 2011, The Corning Museum of Glass worked with a team from Cooper Hewitt to design a new trophy in glass and continues to produce the trophies today.

Created as part of the Corning Museum’s GlassLab initiative, which serves to explore new design concepts and push the boundaries of innovation and creativity, the National Design Awards trophy features significant optical interest and distortion in the glass. Rather than pristine, pure glass without bubbles, the trophy’s glass striations offer a hand-hewn, raw quality. The top of the trophy is cut at a 50° angle, which allows viewers to peer into the glass and see their reflection and also permits the trophy to be set on the cross-section of the asterisk. Each trophy is hand-polished and takes six to eight hours to complete.

Read more about the award in this blog post.

What are the National Design Awards?

Celebrating 20 Years of the National Design Awards