Healthy Materials Lab: Role Models Design Competition

Registration date:


Submission date:




Impacts of design decisions are far-reaching, inescapable, and indisputable. As designers, the questions we continually ask ourselves are: how does what I make impact the world at large? What materials am I using? Who am I designing for and are my designs inclusive? How can materials be used in new, healthier, and innovative ways? That’s where you come in!


For the first year, we are extending the contest to students internationally. To be eligible to enter, you must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree-seeking design program.

Submission Requirements

  • First and last name
  • Name and location of your University
  • Faculty reference
  • Name of academic program you are enrolled in
  • Project title
  • A description of your motivation or inspiration (100 word limit)
  • A description of your process (100 word limit)
  • A description of market viability. If your project is not viable in the marketplace, why is it still important? (100 word limit)
  • A description of all materials used, including any coatings and/or adhesives; plus evidence to support any claims of healthier materials (Why is your material innovation healthier?) (500 word limit)
  • Annotation of this diagram to reflect the lifecycle of your design. Consider the impact on human and environmental health at every stage. (Your annotations should fit on the 8.5×11 page and be legible!)
  • At least 3 final project images (under 1MB). All images must be high resolution.
  • maximum of 7 supporting images, videos, drawings and/or other means of demonstrating your process. All images must be high resolution.

Judging Criteria

  • Clear argument for positive health impact and environmental benefits: Record evidence to support claims of healthier materials.
  • Clear Motivation for Material Choices: Are the materials chosen because they are healthier alternatives to commonly used materials? Are the materials salvaged, recycled or reused closing the loop of their life cycle? Are they sourced locally or from sources that lower a typical carbon footprint?
  • Demonstration of Innovation and Future Thinking: Give details of your design process, describing why you made the choices that you did.
  • Demonstration of Carbon Impact: How well does your annotated diagram address planetary and human health at every stage of the product’s life-cycle? Do your design decisions reduce the impacts of carbon emissions and therefore slow down climate change?
  • Compelling Aesthetics: Remember, this is a design project. Considering health, the environment, and local and global ecologies is a way of improving creative design work. This should be communicated through equally beautiful models, prototypes, and/or physical design proposals. We look forward to seeing radical innovation that will proliferate, which will depend upon unique and compelling aesthetics.

How are Winners Chosen?

We will choose winners who exemplify healthy material innovation and advocacy in design. Entries can include models, prototypes, artwork or visual media. We also require documentation of the design process through pictures, drawings/short videos, etc. Another important requirement is an annotated life-cycle diagram summarizing the carbon impact of your design in order to understand how your design responds to the current global climate emergency.

What’s in it for you?

This is your chance to be a role model to the rest of the design world by sharing your innovative approach to healthier design. As well as winning a $1,000 cash prize, you could generate media exposure and kick-start your career, plus earn the esteem of your peers.