National Design Awards

Bright, prismatic graphic pattern with a center logo in white type reading "NATIONAL DESIGN AWARDS"

About the Awards

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 nine award categories:

  • Design Visionary
  • Climate Action
  • Emerging Designer
  • Architecture / Interior Design
  • Communication Design
  • Digital Design
  • Fashion 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.

Learn More

Read more about the National Design Awards categories and selection process or browse a list of all past honorees.

What are the National Design Awards?

Celebrating 20 Years of the National Design Awards

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.