Lifetime Achievement

During the past 50 years, Matthew Carter has designed some of the most recognizable typefaces used today. He is now a principal of Carter & Cone Type.

Matthew Carter

Carter is responsible for creating the Verdana and Georgia typefaces.

Matthew Carter

Walker typeface, 1995.

Design Mind

Steven Heller is the author and editor of more than 130 books on graphic design, satiric art, and popular culture.

Corporate and Institutional Achievement

Knoll produced some of the most iconic midcentury furniture pieces. Seen here: the Model 1500 Series desk, designed by Florence Knoll in 1956, and the Model 70 chair, designed by Eero Saarinen in 1950.

Product Design

Gianfranco Zaccai founded Continuum in 1983.


ACL coagulation system for Instrumentation Laboratories, 1982


Air bladder fit control system for Reebok Pump sneaker, 1988

Interaction Design

Ben Fry is the principal of Fathom Information Design, in Boston.

Ben Fry

Isometricblock, Haplotype block diagram for the CFTR region of the human genome, 2004

Ben Fry

An Aging Population, a profile of population by age group for Japan and the United States, 2010. Designed with Lynn Kiang.


The New York-based Architecture Research Office is led by Stephen Cassell, Adam Yarinsky, and Kim Yao.

Architecture Research Office

R-House, Syracuse, NY, 2010

Architecture Research Office

Market-Park, a farmers’ market over the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, 2009

Communication Design

Rick Valicenti is the founder of Thirst, a Chicago-based design collaborative devoted to art, function, and real human presence.

Communication Design

Give Gather Grow, Venice, Italy, 2010

Rick Valicenti

Notes to Self journal entries, 2007-8

Rick Valicenti

Lee F. Mindel and Peter Stelton of Shelton, Mindel & Associates

Shelton, Mindel & Associates

Loft residence, New York, NY, 1994

Landscape Architecture

Jennier Guthrie, Kathryn Gustafson, and Shannon Nichol of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

Enlightenment, Towards Paradise, 11th Venice Biennale


J. Mendel (Gilles Mendel pictured here) snatched up the fashion award.

J. Mendel

Gilles Mendel transformed the fifth-generation brand from a luxury furrier into a full-fledged fashion house.


Meet All Ten Winners Of The 2011 National Design Awards [Slideshow]

A tour of notable works by the winners of the nation's highest design honor.

We love awards ? as much for whom they recognize as overlook. Some of us, for instance, are still smarting over The King's Speech absconding with every prize under the sun, but that's neither here nor there. The real — and much more relevant — news is that the Cooper-Hewitt has announced the winners (and finalists) of its National Design Awards, covering the supposed leaders in everything from product and interior design to landscape architecture and fashion.

Although the program is now in its 12th year, this year was the first time the Cooper-Hewitt solicited nominations from the general public. As you'd expect, the winners are safe: Shelton, Mindel & Associates for interior design, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol for landscape architecture, Knoll for corporate and institutional achievement, and J. Mendel for fashion.

Lifetime achievement went to the great Matthew Carter.

Lifetime achievement went to the great Matthew Carter, a type designer responsible some of the most recognizable typefaces used today, including Verdana and Georgia. The New York-based design firm Architecture Research Office, perhaps best-known for their public and institutional work, took home the architecture design prize. Ben Fry picked up the interaction design award for his work in visualizing data to explain everything from the human genome to baseball salaries. And the jury selected Rick Valicenti, founder of Thirst, as the communication design winner for graphics that "bristle with innovation, imagination, curiosity and craft." Product design was handed to our friends at Continuum, whose work spans household items like the Swiffer to medical devices like the OmniPod insulin deliver system.

And awards wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable without a tinge of controversy. This year's scandal comes courtesy of Steven Heller, who was designated a Design Mind. In a post on his blog, the ridiculously prolific writer recently likened flying in coach to traveling in a slave ship , prompting many to think that perhaps he had lost his design mind. As one commenter succinctly put it: "That's like saying Auschwitz is like summer camp. Hey! They both had bunk beds!"

The winners and finalists " for a complete list, go here — will be celebrated on October 20 at a gala dinner at Pier Sixty in New York. For a look at the winners" work, check out the slideshow.

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