Why does Ferrari keep winning Red Dot Awards for car design?
In recent years, Ferrari has enjoyed an unbroken run of success in the annual Red Dot Awards for product design. The competition is highly regarded by professional designers and attracts thousands of entries every year from around the world. Barely one percent of entries go on to be honoured by the judges – but for Ferrari, winning is becoming something of a habit… The history of the Red Dot Awards can be traced back to 1955.
Originating in Essen, Germany, the ‘Permanent Show of Elegant Industrial Products’ in Villa Hugel evolved over the years to become the world’s largest exhibition of contemporary design, with around 2,000 objects on display. This original show also spawned an annual Design Innovationen Award, known today as the Red Dot Design Awards and presented by the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen.
The prize-giving takes place each year in the historic Zollverein Coal Mine industrial complex. Three awards are given in each category – Honourable Mentions, the Red Dot Award itself and the Red Dot Best of the Best. The latter is the most prestigious of all, reserved for the very finest products that showcase the most ground-breaking design. The judging criteria includes innovation, form and function, ergonomics and durability. Entrants are also assessed on symbolic and emotional content, how approachable and self-explanatory the designs are, and even how ecological they are.
To this framework, each juror then adds their own expertise and views. For many years, the Red Dot Awards were focused on areas such as furniture and home appliances. Cars are a more recent addition, and since 2015 the category has been dominated by Ferrari.
The first Red Dot winner from Maranello coincided with the high-profile 60th anniversary of the design competition, with the California T and LaFerrari both picking up Red Dot Design Awards. The Ferrari FXX-K was also a winner – taking the top Red Dot honour, an automotive Red Dot Best of the Best award in the sports car category. So began Ferrari’s streak of success in the competition. In 2016, a year in which there were around 5,200 individual entrants, the Ferrari 488 GTB was among 79 winners, again taking a Red Dot Best of the Best Award.
A year later, the Ferrari GTC4Lusso, LaFerrari Aperta and Ferrari 458 MM Speciale all won Red Dot Awards – and the Ferrari J50 was awarded the Sports Car Best of the Best prize.
And 2018? This year’s competition is Ferrari’s fourth consecutive triumph. The Ferrari 812 Superfast and FXX-K Evo are both Red Dot Design Award victors, and the Portofino has been named this year’s Best of the Best. With more than 6,300 entrants, the 2018 awards were the most hotly-fought yet, making Ferrari’s continued success all the more impressive.