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.

The Jurors become Spark advisors as the judging sessions roll on, concluding each day with a robust and useful discussion of the Spark jury process and Spark in general. 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 Corelle and Mike Nuttall, Co-Founder, IDEO.

Virtual Live Juries In light of the dangers of travel and personal meetings in these days of covid, 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!

2021 15th Anniversary Jury:
Mike Nuttall, Co-Founder, IDEO (Jury Mentor), Silcon Valley; Jose Manuel dos Santos, Head of Design/Americas, Signify Philips Lighting, Boston; Ric Gomes, Professor, Design Center for Global Needs, SF State University, San Francisco; Philip Thompson, VP Design, Intuitive Surgical, Sunnyvale; 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; Will Carey, Director, Map Project Office, Executive Board, San Francisco; Chang Sik Kim, Professor Graphic Design, San Jose State University; Pip Tompkin, Chief Design Officer, ThreeSixty Group, Irvine; Laura Garófalo, Associate Professor, School of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburg; Tiana Plotnikova, Co-Founder, Uflo, Los Angeles; Stephanie Verschoor, Group Head Design & Brand Experience, Reckitt, London; Jiaru Lin, Senior Global Packaging Designer, Tom Ford Beauty, New York City; Jisan An, Professor of Design, Kyungil University, Gyeongsan; Amos Goldreich AA Dip. ARB RIBA, Director, Amos Goldreich Architecture

We Finished A Two-Week Jury For The Spring Student Awards
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 jury, hard at work:

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), Palo Alto; 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; Terri Winter, Founder & Curator, Top3 by design, Australia; 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, Boston 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 (Product) 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