Unsupported browser

You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Sign up for an Award

Participate with your entry in one of our professional or student awards.

Sign up for an award

Sign up for a Profile

Create your own profile and publish it in the iF WORLD DESIGN GUIDE.

Sign up for a profile

Learn more:


Present your project for free and win your share of EUR 50,000 in prize money.

Publish your project

Good design pays off

Good design pays off

All washing machines look the same? Sometimes what's inside is even more important than what's outside.

Our most recent iF Design Exhibition opened in the Hamburg Hafencity recently with a new collection of award-winning products and concepts. Nestled among innovative communication concepts is a large number of household appliances: washing mashines, refrigerators, and cooking ranges. People often have the mistaken idea that product design is about how something looks. Certainly, design has to do with the visuals of a product. But much more than that, design is about how an object works. From the way we interact with it (a knob or a touchscreen?) to the options available, design is as much about inner values as it is about surfaces.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in household goods. Two washing machines may look the same at first or even second glance, but the real design of the appliance is in how it works. How well it washes clothes and how easy (or difficult) it is to operate. And not least of all: how efficiently it does what it is supposed to do.
The great thing about buying an energy efficient design classic such as the PremiumCare is: in the end, it pays for itself. The cost of operating a A+++ dryer over ten years is around 300 euros. For a less efficient appliance with an A++ rating, you'll pay up to twice as much.

"Design is about the way a product looks, for certain," said Andrea Schmidt, who manages the iF exhibition. "But it's also about the way an object works. It's a back and forth, a balance between the two. Sometimes what's inside is more important than what's outside."