Spark Juries

Every year Spark is honored to present a fresh panel of very talented judges. Each bench of jurors is gathered with the help of our Jury Chairs, Advisors and Community members. The Jurors come from across the spectrum of design disciplines, media, educators and experts.  Each Jury has teams of experts who specialize in specific disciplines and act as reference guides for the larger multi-disciplinary unit.

We’ve also been blessed with several “Jury Mentors” who take especial interest in exploring and establishing best practices for the jury process. These great friends of Spark include Tania Aldous, VP Design at Instant Pot, Leslie Speer, Founding Chair, MICA and Mike Nuttall, Co-Founder, IDEO.

Virtual Live Juries Spark has re-invented the jury process. We pioneered a voting system that is live, simultaneous and vibrant. Globally connected judges debate the merits of the submissions over multiple days and many time zones. Some jurors are up very early and others are judging late into the night. It’s not easy, but it’s a great experience for all the participants!

2024 18th Annual Juries
Mike Nuttall, Jury Chair, Co-Founder, IDEO, San Jose; Hari Nair, Professor, Industrial Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, Former CDO, Whirlpool; José Manuel dos Santos, Head of Design & User Experience, Signify, Boston; Mark Davis, Founder & Principal, MD Design, San Francisco; Treasure Hinds, Co-Founder, Anvil Studios, Seattle; Dr. Younjoon Lee, Professor of Visual Communication and Service Design, HongIk University, Seoul; Oliver Berger, Co-Founder/Managing Partner, Notation Creative Consulting, Zurich; Samantha-Jane Hunter, Technology Content Strategist, Dell Technologies, Austin; Jaclyn Suzuki, Co-founder, MADO Research & Strategy, Portland; Rozi Zhu, Visual Designer & Technologist, Instagram, NYC; Christina Tapp, Industrial Design Consultant, Walnut Creek; Jia Wang, Information Architect, University of Washington, Seattle

2023 17th Annual Juries
Mike Nuttall, Jury Chair, Co-Founder, IDEO, San Jose; KyungHo Lee, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Design, UNIST, Ulsan; Kritika Kushwaha, Senior Product Designer, Asana, San Francisco; David Schwarz, Founder/Creative Director, HUSH Experience Design, NYC; John Kock & Marcel Schreuder, Co-Founders, Springtime Design, Amsterdam; Juan Noguera, Assistant Professor, School of Design, Rochester Institute of Technology; Roman Gebhard, Managing Partner, FLUID, Munich, Matthew Rhoades,

Here’s the 2023 Spring Team On Mark!

Well Went The Day! You folks were terrific. What a lovely, lively group! Thank you for your efforts and keen insights.
–Peter Kuchnicki, Spark

A pleasure to work with you all.
A pretty fair result I believe.
Hope to see you again soon. Mike Nuttall, Jury Mentor, IDEO Co-Founder

Hey Peter,
Thank you for including me – it was quite a gratifying experience and a pleasure to hear all of your perspectives coming together. David Schwarz, HUSH

Hello Peter, Mike, and fellow jurors,
I just wanted to say thanks for having me on the Spark design review last week. I had a great time meeting everyone and seeing all the amazing work that was submitted. Peter, you did a great job putting together such a talented and diverse group of jurors. The conversations we had were really inspiring, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for design. I’m looking forward to the next one! Stella Papadopoulos, Eight Inc.

Peter, Mike and esteemed SPARK judges,
I had a great time judging this group of amazing work with you, and I am already looking forward to our next meeting at the end of the year. Have a fantastic start to your week. Juan Noguera, RIT Industrial Design

Peter, thanks again for the invite and the rest, nice to e-meet you all! Marcel Schreuder, Springtime

Thank you so much for this opportunity. I learned a lot about how senior designers assess he potential of the work through very constructive, productive discussion. Brilliant! Kyungho Lee, UNIST

Thank you, Peter, and thank you all. I really enjoyed the collaborative process, and I think we ended up with an excellent array of projects as a result of it. Earl Tai

This was really fun. Thank you all! Ryan Kovalek

2022 Jurors
Mike Nuttall, Co-Founder, IDEO (Jury Mentor), Silicon Valley; Brian Paschke, Creative Lead, Radius Team at Fitbit/Google, San Francisco; Francois Nguyen, Executive Creative Director, frogNY; Cindy Zheng, Senior Designer, Mucho SF; Ksenya Samarskaya, Managing Director, Type Directors Club, New York; Alex Terry, Partner, Terry and Terry Architecture, Berkeley; Lisa Winstanley, Associate Professor, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Elham Mirzapour, Design Director, Arena Design, Tabriz; Rodrigo Torres, Principal, Rodrigo Torres Design; Ellise Smolenyak, Industrial Design Manager, NewDealDesign, San Francisco; Leslie Speer, Founding Chair, MICA, Baltimore; Daniel Leon, Founder & Director, Square Feet Architecture, London, Kraig Kessel, Co-Founder, Kraido, Tucson


Day One–2022 Spring Student Awards

Fantastic, Peter! Really enjoyed participating this year with everyone. Great dialogue and discussions. We have some great winners! Kraig Kessel, Kraido

Being in your team was a very good experience for me and I thank you for your good energy. Best wishes–Elham Mirzapour, Arena Design

2021 15th Anniversary Jury:
Mike Nuttall, Co-Founder, IDEO (Jury Mentor), Silicon Valley; Ricardo Gomes, Professor, Design Center for Global Needs, SF State University, San Francisco; Catherine Kim, Director of Design, Samsung Think Tank, Mountainview (Spring only); Ellen Lou, Director, Urban Design & Planning, SOM, San Francisco; Rashana Zaklit, Sr Associate Design Director, Gensler San Francisco (Spring only); Will Carey, Director, Map Project Office, Executive Board, San Francisco; Pip Tompkin, Chief Design Officer, ThreeSixty Group, Irvine; Laura Garófalo, Associate Professor, School of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburg (Spring only); Tiana Plotnikova, Co-Founder, Uflo, Los Angeles (Spring only); Jisun An, Professor of Design, Kyungil University, Gyeongsan; Amos Goldreich AA Dip. ARB RIBA, Director, Amos Goldreich Architecture

We Had a Terrific Two Weeks
Our international team of jurors ended the year with a solid, excellent job of judging. Every decision was logical, creative and intelligent. We are always delighted with the outcomes, but especially with the process. It’s a surprising and wonderful collaboration of expert volunteers who usually haven’t met, working together over many hours and days (and nights!) to discuss, debate and evaluate the designs. And again this year, they came to a fine conclusion. Thank You, Judges!


We Finished A Twelve Day Jury For The 2020 Spring Student Awards
Our Finalists, Shortlist and Winners were chosen at last. It was a great process and we reviewed a lot of terrific designs. Good job Judges and thanks Students for your interesting entries! You may review the submissions and the winning designs here in the Spark Galleries.

And here’s the Spring jury, hard at work:

2021 Spring Jurors

We look forward to seeing these jurors again in November, along with some new folks, to judge all our design categories. Lot’s of good stuff coming in already. If you and your
organization has some work to show off, don’t miss out on the second half of the Spark 15th year of awards!
A Job Well-Done! The 2020 Fall Juries
This was the big one, covering all design disciplines for professional designers. These included: Graphic Design; Health, Medical & Universal Design; Product Design; Spaces Design; Transport & Mobility Design; Concept Pro; Experience & Service Design; Digital Design and Packaging Design.


2020 Spark Fall Jury, November 20-25, Global
Mike Nuttall, Co-Founder, IDEO (Jury Mentor), Silicon Valley; Tania Aldous, Vice President of Design, Corelle (Jury Mentor) Chicago; Oliver Berger, Co-Founder, Notation Creative Consulting, Zurich; Dr. Jesvin Yeo, Associate Dean, Graphic Design, Designing Cultures Studio, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Chris Hacker, Chair of Product Design, ArtCenter College, Pasadena; Jacqui Belleau, Principal, Jacqui Belleau Design, San Francisco & Portland; Ross Wimer, Senior Vice President, Architecture Leader AECOM Americas, Los Angeles; Dave Muyres, VP Design, Innovation & Product Development, Streetscope, Pasadena; Hamda Al Naimi, Principal, Hamda Design, San Francisco & Dubai; Patrick Abrams, Director & Founder, Applied Studio Architecture, London; Clark Sept, Principal, Gensler, San Francisco; Kraig Kessel, Co-Founder, Kraido, San Francisco; Wendy Chan, Senior User Experience Manager, Service Design, Intuitive Surgical, Sunnyvale; Martin Heck, Designer, Brandis Industrial Design, Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany

Dear Jurors—That was a wonderful jury this morning!
Process, people, designs, discussions. Terrific! Honored you could join us, and hope you can again. Spark had a good season– more entries than 2019—hard to believe in a pandemic— and now we begin our 15th year. Amazing!

Take Care– Stay Warm & Well!

PS: Especial thanks to Mike and Tania for their great help on the jury direction and guidance for all these good years!

Hi Peter, great connecting with you via SPARK! I enjoyed being a part of this fall jury, thanks for inviting me to join and for the interesting conversations. I look forward to the next jury!
–Jacqui Belleau

Just a quick note to say thanks for having me for the judging – a great experience and very rewarding. Especially enjoyed the opportunity to debate and review with such amazing people. Was great to connect during the Spark judging process. Hope all is well.
–Patrick Abrams

It was fun to be part of a spark jury.  I will gladly take part another time if opportunity arises. I enjoyed every minute listening to what these interesting people you gathered from all around the world. Thank you and hope to see you all again.
–Martin Heck

Thank you, Peter for having me! I enjoy all the sharing and discussions very much, which makes me feel like I am back working in the design industry. So inspiring!!
–Jesvin Yeo Puay Hwa

2020 Spark Spring Semester Student Jury, June 15, Global

Mike Nuttall, Co-Founder, IDEO (Jury Mentor), Palo Alto; Brent Oppenheimer, Principal, O+CO, NYC; Sahar Madanat, Design Director & Founder, TWELVE Degrees, Amman; KwanMyoung Kim, Dean, Graduate Industrial Design, UNIST, Ulsan; Antonio Borja, Director, Industrial Design, Academy of Art University, San Francisco; Hari Nair,  Professor, Design Management,  Savannah College of Art & Design, Savannah; Gary- Sheng Hung Lee, R.A., MIT AgeLab; Course Experience Designer, MIT xPRO, Cambridge; Claudya Piazera, CEO, Smart8, Wintergarden; Elena Raho, Founder & CEO, HERE CREATE, Hong Kong; Ryan Jongwoo Choi, Senior Industrial Designer, McLaren, London; Andrea Ruggiero, Principal, Andrea Ruggiero Design, NYC;

Hi Jurors–Wow! That was a terrific week—
Breakthrough tech, insightful commentary, educational, fun, funny, heartwarming and new and old friends. Thank you from me personally and on behalf of Spark. You gave the students a good, hard, fair look at the work and we are very much in agreement with the choices made. Here’s a link to the first announcement: All Best, Take Care & Stay Well! –Peter

“It was great to see those of you who I met in SF/HK last year again and new faces. The judging process worked pretty well, I really enjoyed discussing my thoughts with you. Hope to see you again, let’s keep in touch. & Stay safe! Kindest regards, Ryan Jongwoo Choi, Senior Industrial Designer at McLaren

Peter, Thank you and your team for pulling this off so smoothly at the first trial. And thank you for extending the invitation to include me. I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions with the jury, whom I am so glad I met. I hope to connect with you all one day in person…maybe in Jordan one day! Meanwhile, stay safe and healthy 🙂 Best Regards, Sahar Madanat Haddad

Likewise! It was great to spend a few mornings with all of you going thru design concepts, especially from young minds, and having meaningful discussions around them, which we are all passionate about. I am also glad to have met all of you, albeit virtually, and look forward to staying in touch. Thanks Peter and Clark for bringing us together. Please stay in touch and stay safe. Best Hari Nair & Claudya Piazera

Thank you Peter and all. It was a great experience judging and meeting you all virtually. Hope to see you again. Best, KwanMyung Kim Dean, Graduate School of Creative Design Engineering | UNIST

Thank you, Peter, and all the jurors!!! It was a great and meaningful discussion!!! Best regards, Sheng-Hung Lee 李盛弘 Course Experience Designer, MIT xPRO Vice Chair, IDSA Boston

Thank you Peter and Clark for being a great host. My fellow Jurors, thank you for the insightful discussions around the different design submissions. I look forward to doing this again soon. I hope you guys all have a wonderful summer, stay safe and healthy! Cheers, Antonio Borja Director, School of Industrial Design, Academy of Art University

Thanks again for involving me in Spark — it’s always a pleasure and happy it worked out so well given the distancing. Pandemic or not, the Spark is still there! All best Andrea Ruggiero”

2019 Spark Spring Semester Student Jury (June in San Francisco) (From Left to Right in Photo Above) Mary Katica, Program Director, (Health); Jochen Backs, Principal, Studio Backs (Product); Willy Carteau, Senior Industrial Designer, Google (Product); Peter Kuchnicki, Spark Director; Fariba Marnani, Industrial Designer, Eichleay, Inc.; Lisa Sullivan, Principal, L.Sullivan Design & Communications (Spaces); Irina Kozlovskaya, Director, Industrial Design, Fitbit (Product); Nichole Rouillac, Founding Partner, level design sf (Product); Mathias Hintermann, Industrial Designer, Snap Inc. (Product); Sally Darby, Senior Strategist, Frog design (Spaces); Earl Gee, Partner, Gee + Chung Design (Graphics)

Hi Peter–Hope you are doing well. Thank you again for the opportunity to judge the Spark Awards. The interdisciplinary nature of Spark really sets the competition apart from other design awards, and the competition remains a very compelling showcase for the ability of design to make a difference in the world. Thanks for the effort to clarify the SPARK categories to reflect our ever-changing realities—the profession of design continues to be a work in progress.
All Best! Earl Gee

2019 Spark Juries (November 18 in San Francisco) Including: Product, Graphics, Experience, Health, Digital & Transport
(From Left to Right in Photo Above) Sam Lucente, Principal, Lucente Design (Product); Antonio Borja, Director, Industrial Design, Academy of Art University (Transport); Hugo Eccles, Creative Director, Special Projects Office (Product); Claude Zellweger, Director of Design, Google (Experience); Jochen Backs, Principal, Studio Backs (Product); Peter Bristol, Head of Industrial Design, Facebook VR/AR/Portal (Product); Claudio Ribeiro, Chief Experience Designer, VSN Mobil (Experience); Julien Rouillac, Principal Industrial Designer, Innovation Design Lab., 3D SYSTEMS (Product); Arin Bhowmick, VP & Chief Design Officer, IBM Cloud, Data and AI Practice (Digital); Peter Kuchnicki, President, Spark Design Awards; Mike Nuttall, Co-Founder, IDEO (Jury Mentor); Emida Natalaray, Director, School of Technology for the Arts, Republic Polytechnic (Digital); Ryan Jongwoo Choi, Industrial Designer, McLaren Applied Technology (Transport); Eric Chan, President & Founder, Ecco Design (Product); Damien Lock, Director, School of Tech, Republic Polytechnic; Norio Fujikawa, Executive Creative Director, ASTRO Studios (Product); Robert Hubler, Senior Industrial Designer, Intuitive (Health); Kate Freebairn, Director of UX, Google Nest (Product); Steven R. Umbach, Principal, Umbach Consulting Group (Experience); Colin Owen, Design Director, Elroy Air (Transport); Clark Kellogg, Professor, Design Thinking, UC Berkeley Haas, Spark Director

2019 Spark Juries (December 3 in Hong Kong) Including: Spark Student Design & Spaces Design
(From Left to Right in Photo Above) Ame Engelhart, Director, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Fabienne Munch, Executive Director Global Initiatives & Strategy, The University of Chicago; Ryan Jongwoo Choi, Industrial Designer, McLaren Applied Technology; Tang Chen-Chuan, Director, Tang Designs; Cheol Woo Park, Chief Design Officer, Royole Corporation; Edmund Ng, VP & Co-Founder, KONCEPT Lighting; David B. Frank, Senior Associate & Design Director, Gensler; Elena Raho, Founder & CEO, HERE CREATE; Peter Kuchnicki, Director, Spark Awards; Matio Conti, Senior ID Manager, Motorola Mobility (not pictured)

2016 Team In Action

Poul Henningsen’s Artichoke Lamp, courtesy DWR