Editor's note: Vote for your pick among the winners of Inc.'s Best in Class Awards for today's best-designed American-made products. Inc.com will announce the Readers' Choice winner on Tuesday, May 26.
We heard two words a lot during the judging event for this year's Iconic Design Awards: simplicity and accessibility.
Our panel of design experts was drawn to products that solve a problem in an elegant way, without unnecessary complication or expense.
A sense of fun was important, too. Imagine Gadi Amit, tech gadget groundbreaker, balancing atop the Level, a standing-desk accessory that resembles a skateboard without wheels (see inset image to right). Or Cynthia Rowley, icon of the fashion industry, riding a bicycle through Inc.'s lobby, as her fellow judges enthuse over how smoothly she is able to pedal.
"I love the way this looks: both deliberate and"--that word again!--"accessible," says Ellen Lupton, Cooper Hewitt curator of contemporary design, about the lightweight, sleek Priority bicycle. "It's like, 'Hey, I'm just a bike. I'm not trying to be Lance Armstrong.' I love how all the materials go together. It manages to be this very low-key statement."
That sort of statement is what can set entrepreneurial design apart from that of more established and better-known competitors. It is, indeed, what will help drive the sales and ultimate success of the startups trying to make their mark in the crucial--and gorgeous--world of design.
As you'll see in this year's Best in Class design package, the 2015 winners exemplify the blending of gracious shape and cutting-edge technology, all so that the resulting product solves a problem as reliably and unobtrusively as possible. So if you're in need of inspiration, click through to view this year's winners--and see what a difference smart, simple, innovative, entrepreneurial design can make.