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Schools Award and CDN Design Schools League Table

Mon, 27 Feb 2012

Schools as well as students are being recognized in this year's CDN-Interior Motives Student Design Awards, just launched, with a special award being introduced for the school whose students have the most success in the competition.

CDN acknowledges that great teaching, as well as raw student talent, is needed to shape the work of the next generation of car designers. So along with the student finalists in 2012 will come finalist schools, as measured by the success of their students in getting to the shortlist stage of the competition, in becoming category finalists, or in winning an award or becoming overall winner.

Course leaders will be invited to the Awards ceremony to be held in Paris at the time of this year's auto show, where one of them will be presented with this new Schools Award.

To back up this initiative, CDN is today also launching a global league table of design school success. In it we assess their teaching performance by recording the results achieved by their students across the past 5 years of the competition.

Such a league table risks controversy. Prior to CDN taking the helm in 2009, the competition was presented solely by Interior Motives, our print magazine which has a powerful but necessarily smaller reach than a website. The magazine is published from London in English, and that might influence the geographical penetration of the competition. And, as its name says, the magazine is about interiors, though the competition has from its outset 10 years ago included exterior design, and indeed has challenged students on broader issues like future mobility and function. This year it has gone further by including an award for drawing (Artistic Visualization).

In favour of our league table is the fact that the CDN Interior Motives competition is truly global, as evidenced by the 40+ countries from which entrants have historically come. It is for students enrolled on a full-time design course, and so has a defined pool of entrants. It has been consistent; the 2012 competition will have the same structure as the inaugural contest back in 2003. And isn't there something about the interior being the most difficult part of automotive design...?

League table and winning index

So, what does the table show? Using a points system to score the numbers of students who have achieved different levels in the competition (see explanation below of the scoring methodology), the top 10 results over the five years to 2011 are:

CDN Interior Motives Student Design Competition: 2007-11 overall results

Royal College of Art 122 points Coventry University 59 Hong-ik University


Umea Institute 38 Strate College 34 Istituto Europeo di Design (IED)
25 College for Creative Studies 23 Pforzheim University 17 Seoul University 17 Azad University, Tehran 15









source: judges' results for the period 2007-11

We are sensitive to the argument that these results might be biased towards the schools with most entries, and that the briefs (frequently set by VW and Peugeot over the period) might be Europe-centric. [CDN has introduced a dedicated annual competition for students in China, now in its 3rd year].

So we have attempted to assess the performance of those students who reached the highest level of the competition, which means the handful (typically three) finalists who were considered for each of the 6-10 awards made each year. An index of student success at this level reflects not the number of entries per school, but the performance of the highest-calibre students being taught by the school. As in many other fields of competitive endeavour, performance is about coaching/teaching as well as about innate talent.

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