The Best Design winners were announced at the Grand Ceremony on November 29 in Taipei’s Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, Multi-Showcase Hall. A total of 34 Best Design winners were revealed in the Golden Pin Design Award, along with 2 Special Annual Award for Green Design winners, and 1 Special Annual Award for Social Design winner. There were 3 Best Design winners in the Golden Pin Concept Design Award who each took home a US$13,000 cash prize to help bring their concepts to market.

Among the winning designs, this year’s jury found trends in social design, green design, and artificial intelligence, among others. In terms of social design, many designers are looking to post-demographics such as elderly people who have specific healthcare needs. As for green design, the use of sustainable materials is most apparent among winning designs focused on up-cycling. The prevalence of educational devices for children that integrate AI technology is another apparent trend in the Product design category.

Statistics on 2018 Entries

2018 was yet another record-breaking year for the Golden Pin Design Award and Golden Pin Concept Design Award. The combined total number of entries across both awards increased to a massive 7,572 designs and concepts. Whereas in previous years companies were required to enter through a partner in a Chinese-speaking country or region, this year marked the first time that companies registered anywhere around the globe were allowed to enter the Golden Pin Design Award. As a result, the number of companies that entered the Golden Pin Design Award rose to 1,385, which is an 18% increase from the previous year.

Geographical Areas

In just one year, the number of countries and regions represented by the Golden Pin Design Award entrants has climbed from 14 to 21. For the first time, the Golden Pin Design Award received entries from companies in Turkey, Belgium, Canada, Hungary, South Korea, Italy, Mexico, and Poland. The vast majority of entries come from companies in Taiwan and China, Taiwanese companies making up 40% and Chinese companies making up 50% respectively. The majority of the remaining 10% came from other countries and regions in Asia with Hong Kong companies making up 5%.

The Golden Pin Concept Design Award received entries from designers in 23 countries and regions. For the first time ever, entries were received from designers in South Korea, Indonesia, Hungary, France, Austria, Serbia, and Cameroon. Again, entries from Taiwan and China made up the majority, Taiwanese entrants making up 35% and Chinese entrants making up 62% respectively, with the remaining 3% made up of entrants from other countries and regions in Asia, Europe, America, and Africa.


The Golden Pin Design Award introduced two new categories this year; Communication design, which consolidates the Visual Communication design and Packaging design categories; and Integration design, which focuses on multidisciplinary practices in professional curation and social design for example. Communication design accounted for 29% of the total number of entries. Already, the Integration design category received 78 entries, with the majority of entries in the Professional curation subcategory, and it produced 22 Design Mark winners. Almost one out of every three Integration design entries won an award, which is a very high ratio, reflecting the trend of multi-disciplinary work in this era of informational and technological revolution.

The category that saw the most growth in both the Golden Pin Design Award and Golden Pin Concept Design Award was Spatial design. Compared to last year, the number of entries in the Golden Pin Concept Design Award’s Spatial design category grew from 393 to 619 entries. In the Golden Pin Design Award, it accounted for 23% of the total number of entries, and almost half of those 686 entries were in the Residential space subcategory. This insight is reflected in the Product design category where more than half of entries fall into home-related subcategories such as TV and Home Entertainment, Home Appliances, Furniture, Homeware, and Kitchenware. This all points to the empowered role of Chinese-speaking consumers, along with the huaren design community’s awareness of home and lifestyle trends.

Trends in the Winning Designs

Social Design

Final Selection jury member, Tony K.M. Chang (Regional Advisor to the World Design Organization) says, “Nowadays we live in an aging society. From the entrants we can see projects that talk about elderly peoples’ issues and medical equipment. You can see that designers have deep concerns about society.”

▲ Hanyi Alzheimer font / Beijing Hanyi information Technology Co.,Ltd & Mcgarrybowen (Shanghai) Advertising Company / Communication Design

‘Hanyi Alzheimer font’ by Beijing Hanyi Information Technology Co., Ltd. won Best Design in the Golden Pin Design Award’s Communication design category. In her speech at the award ceremony, the company’s COO Ma Yiyuan said this project taught her that fonts can be about more than just design. To her, Hanyi Alzheimer font represents the goodwill of society. Designed for World Alzheimer’s Day 2018, the font visually represents the symptoms of memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The objective of the project was to raise awareness about the issue in China, which has the largest population of people with dementia in the world according to the World Health Organization.

Another great example of Social Design is ‘2017 TNH Center | He-Ji Project’, which won the Special Annual Award – Social Design. Entered in the Golden Pin Design Award’s Communication design category, the project brought together solution design consultant Plan b with graphic designer Joe Fang. A group of journalists from Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong were brought together to discuss their shared cultural heritage in relation to rice. Their discussions culminated in an urban rice farm where visitors could learn about the project, and finally a book made from rice paper, using rice harvested from the urban farm. The project’s mission was to bridge the divide between Chinese-speaking people from both sides of the Strait.

Design Mark winner in the Golden Pin Concept Design Award, ‘EASY TO PICK TEA UP’ by CAI WAN-LIN is designed around the needs of elderly tea farmers in Taiwan. The concept is to replace the DIY blades used by generations of tea pickers, whereby a razor blade is taped to the thumb and forefinger so that the action of cutting and picking can be done in one motion. Following the same principle, ‘EASY TO PICK TEA UP’ is a safer option for Taiwan’s elderly tea pickers, eliminating the chance of injury through good design.

Artificial Intelligence

Final Selection jury member, Shikuan Chen (Senior Vice President of Compal Electronics, Inc.) says, “Artificial intelligence is rising. It is already used in a lot of consumer electronics products, and designers are beginning to use it in children’s educational products too.”

▲ LUKA BABY READING ROBOT / Ling Technology Co.,Ltd. / Product Design

‘LUKA BABY READING ROBOT’ by Ling Technology Co., Ltd. won Best Design in the Golden Pin Design Award’s Product design category. Its cartoon character-like appearance makes it child-friendly, and inbuilt AI technology makes it smart. It can read books like a human-being, recognizing written text and repeating it verbally. Due to the pressure and time constraints on teachers and parents nowadays, not all children get the attention they deserve, so this reading robot could help many children get a better education.

Design Mark winner in the Golden Pin Design Award, ‘IRONBOT EDUCATIONAL ROBOT KIT’ is a 3-in-1, DIY learning kit that teaches children about STEM and robotics. This robot building kit is customizable, allowing its builder to set the robot’s name, character, voice, and expression. In our fast changing world, it is increasingly important for children to learn how to utilize the latest technology, and this product helps them do just that.


Final Selection jury member, KUAN CHENG-NENG (Honorary Chair Professor in the Department of Industrial Design at Shih-Chien University) says, “People’s lives are becoming more convenient because of high tech goods, but we’re forgetting about our relationships with others. Craft can help us reconnect and cherish our relationships.”

Best Design winner in the Product design category, ‘comicam T1 kids camera’ by Shenzhen XIVO Design Co., Ltd. is an instant camera designed for children. Its designers are going against digitalization to offer a colorful camera product that produces printed pictures on BPA-free heat-sensitive paper, which is both safe for children and cheap to buy. The designers believe that children can benefit from non-digital cameras in many ways; for one, its more hands-on and creative; and also its not detrimental to their eyesight, as opposed to digital screens.

▲ The Affairs / The Affairs Medium Ltd. / Communication Design

The Typesetting Master’s Table by Muwu Design Studio won Best Design in the Golden Pin Design Award’s Communication design category. The designer, Peng-Hsiang Kao was born into a family that ran a printing shop, therefore printing is very close to his heart. Kao produced this book, which turns into an assembly kit with an instructive guidebook, and teaches readers about traditional typesetting methods.

‘The Affairs’, ‘Fountain’, and ‘Landscape of City Magazine’ are all popular print publications, which won Best Design in the Golden Pin Design Award. One is a broadsheet newspaper, one is a magazine, and the other is an artwork commemorating the 499th issue of Hong Kong’s City Magazine. While most mass media companies are digitalizing, these three are going against the grain to offer a more tactile medium.

Green Design

Final Selection jury member, Ed Bakos (Managing Director of CHAMPALIMAUD Design) says, “Design has always drawn inspiration from nature. It’s an age old proposition. We have a responsibility towards stewardship of the environment, and the use of materials that we have, and how we’re going to create things.”

▲ WOWMOON / Spring Pool Glass Industrial Ltd. & PiliWu-Design / Product Design

‘WOWMOON’ by PiliWu-Design won the Special Annual Award – Green Design in the Golden Pin Design Award. It’s a glassware collection designed especially for the Moon festival celebrations at Taipei W Hotel’s Woobar, made from recycled champagne bottles. This ingenious use of recycled materials is exemplary, sustainable product design; the concept is to reuse waste from past parties to fuel a new celebration.

‘Not Just Library 2018 Admission Ticket’ by mistroom also won the Special Annual Award – Green Design in the Golden Pin Design Award. This is another up-cycling project, which refashions past editions of design magazines in the library’s storage to create limited edition, collectible tickets for the library. By recutting and reprinting on pages in the magazines, the library aims to transform a single-use item into a valuable souvenir for its guests.


Final Selection jury member, Lin Xiao Yi (Art Director of atom no color) says, “From this year’s winning projects, I can see many have combined global language with local cultural spirit. Many of them have this in common.”

▲ No dream, no life. / Godkidlla Art Production / Communication Design

Best Design winner in the Golden Pin Design Award’s Communication design category, designed by Godkilla Art Studio, ’No Dream, No Life’ is the packaging for an album of the same name by rock band Sorry Youth. It communicates the global language of rock music, while at the same encapsulating the spirit of Taiwanese youth. The album artwork depicts a sea of writhing limbs, representing the hardship faced by young people in Taiwan.

Similarly, Best Design winner in the Integration design category, ’HIP HOP KIDS’ communicates the global language of hip hop while capturing the spirit of the Taiwanese sub-culture. The exhibition, designed by InFormat Design Curating, took place a the 2018 Cultural Expo in Taipei, which is a hive of emerging Taiwanese cultural trends. It features several stars of the underground hip hop scene in Taiwan, and describes the idiosyncrasies of each one, according to colloquialisms in their language and style.

Expanded Interiority

Secondary Selection jury member, Johnny Chiu (Founder of J.C. Architecture) says, “One thing that jumps out today about the spaces is the removal of boundaries between inside and outside. Asian people, and especially Taiwanese, have this tendency to not really care about their exterior space. I think it’s very important to change this spatial concept.”

▲ Dining in Nature / 9 Studio Design Group / Spatial Design

‘Dining in Nature’ by 9 studio design group won Best Design in the Golden Pin Design Award’s Spatial design category. This dining experience is inspired by ant colonies, designed to guide guests between the buffet area and seating enclosures. Each enclosure is like the interior of an anthill, whereby diners can enjoy some privacy within a contemporary, open plan dining space.

Another Best Design winner in the Golden Pin Design Award’s Spatial design category is ’Connection and Conversation – Yinchuan Han Meilin Art Museum’ by SUNLAY. The low profile architecture is designed to merge with the mountains and barren plains that surround it. Made from local materials with viewing areas to take in the immensity of the landscape, the architecture is striking, but at the same time humble.

Experience Economy

Secondary Selection jury member, Ping Chu (Founder of the Ripplemaker Foundation) says, “Integration design is a category that we are trying to celebrate. It’s things like curation. It’s not a product that you can sell. A lot of it is one time only, and once it’s done it’s done. This is ephemeral.”

▲ Soundscape of Body / Dimension Plus / Integration Design

‘Soundscape of Body’ by Dimension Plus and ‘Prismverse’ by XCEPT both won Best Design in the Integration design category’s Ambient experience subcategory. Both projects are by Hong Kong design companies that specialize in high tech design solutions. ‘Soundscape of Body’ utilizes low energy laser scanners to produce a 3D impression of the inside of the body, and custom-designed algorithms transform the 3D data into an audiovisual performance. A different kind of audiovisual experience, ’Prismverse’ is triggered by a touchpoint at the center of the exhibition space, which sets off a kaleidoscopic light display, manipulated by diamond-like reflective walls within the space.

Designed by TRUNK DESIGN INC., Design Mark winner ‘Hyogo craft’ is shaped by Hyogo Prefecture’s unique, local, traditional crafts. By integrating with the local craftspeople, TRUNK DESIGN INC. establishes a comprehensive sales channel system throughout Japan, and also sets up original brands overseas. Not only does the project sell crafts, but it also creates local craft tours where visitors can interact with the masters. The project’s aim is to set up a system that can sustain traditional craft industries in contemporary times.

What do designers think about the Golden Pin Design Award?

According to a selection of past award participants surveyed in the Golden Pin Design Award’s service experience questionnaire, designers value the Golden Pin Design Award for building agency within the huaren design community and bringing designers from all over the Chinese-speaking world together in one place. They believe the award is reliable due to its expert, international jury panel, and feel honored by the quality of the award ceremony and the organizers’ global ambitions. Ultimately, they come back to the Golden Pin Design Award year-after-year because of the connections they make with fellow design professionals.

The Golden Pin Design Award constantly seeks the highest standards of reliability. This year the award invited a total of 76 judges, which is the largest jury panel in the award group’s 38 year history. Each year the ceremony becomes bigger and better. This year, the ceremony was directed by Taiwan’s leading motion design studio Bito, setting the stage for the likes of singer-songwriter Crowd Lu and master of ceremonies Mickey Huang. Furthermore, the ceremony is a platform for designers from all around the globe to exchange opinions and share in the award’s honor together.

Facts & Figures
Total submissions: 7,572

Golden Pin Design Award: 2,932

  • Design Mark: 697
  • Best Design: 34
  • Special Annual Award: 3
  • Participating countries/regions: 21 (Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, USA, Germany, Thailand, Japan, Turkey, Belgium, Canada, Hungary, South Korea, Italy, Mexico, Poland, UK, Netherlands, Australia)
  • Participating companies: 1,385
  • Categories: Product design (1,326), Communication design (842), Spatial design (686), Integration design (78)

Golden Pin Concept Design Award: 4,640

  • Design Mark: 45
  • Best Design: 3
  • Participating countries/regions: 23 (Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, South Korea, Indonesia, UK, Italy, Germany, Poland, Iran, Hungary, France, Austria, Serbia, USA, Mexico, Cameroon)
  • Categories: Product design (2,471), Visual Communication design (1,293), Spatial design (619), Packaging design (257)