The design industry is to get its equivalent of the Turner Prize with the launch of a £25 000 Designer of the Year award by the Design Museum.
Open to designers working or born in Britain, the prize will go to the person who has ‘made the biggest impact in the preceding calendar year’, says Design Museum director Alice Rawsthorn.
‘All other significant areas of popular culture have an award like the Turner [Prize],’ says Rawsthorn. ‘Existing design awards are specialist, either by discipline or demographic, but Designer of the Year aims to be populist and raise public awareness of design.’
The award will be judged by a panel of four experts and the general public will also be able to vote.
Johnson Banks creative director Michael Johnson says getting the public involved is a good idea, but feels disciplines such as graphic design, less understood by the general public, may suffer.
‘It will be very interesting to see how it establishes the criteria,’ he says. ‘For example, you could argue that Laurence Llewellyn Bowen has done as much to increase popular knowledge of design as anyone else.’
Priestman Goode director Paul Priestman welcomed the prize, but says involving the public in such schemes can be difficult.