Best In Emerging Design Competition | DesignPhiladelphia

Best in Emerging Design


DesignPhiladelphia is excited to announce the 2021 edition of Best in Emerging Design, a design competition that invites regional designers and design companies to submit innovative, high-quality products that have a positive impact on daily life. The competition shines a spotlight on Philadelphia’s design excellence and provides a platform for designers and companies whose solutions are ready to scale.

Best in Emerging Design aims to propel finalists and winners forward by providing prize money and robust local and national exposure. Finalists will showcase their product at Cherry Street Pier throughout the 2021 DesignPhiladelphia Festival. The winning design solution will be awarded with a cash prize of $5,000. 


2021 Competition Closed




  • Free to apply.
  • Open to locals in the Greater Philadelphia region (Philadelphia +5 surrounding counties).
  • Designs that are innovative, original products.
  • Looking for products that have the capacity to scale in production.
  • A consideration of sustainability in either the design, production, manufacturing, distribution, or usage of the product.

Finalists will be required to create a video documenting their design process and participate in an exhibit during DesignPhiladelphia at Cherry Street Pier. Video and exhibit display production and installation is the responsibility of each finalist. 

Select designers will be promoted through DesignPhiladelphia’s…

  • Social media
  • Website’s Best in Emerging Design page
  • DesignPhilly Stories news feed during and after the Festival
  • Festival press outreach


  • $5,000 cash prize 
  • Potential to exhibit at partnering design festival after DesignPhiladelphia
  • Promotion of the winner through news articles and social media.
  • Promotion of winner’s process video on website and YouTube channel.


March 18 - Competition Registration available on DesignPhiladelphia website     
May 28, 11:59 PM - Completed submissions DUE 
July 13 - Finalists meet-and-greet info session + scheduled site visit at Cherry Street Pier
October 4-5 - Installation at Cherry Street Pier
October 6 - DesignPhiladelphia Kickoff Party (winners will be notified prior to Kickoff Party)
October 18 - Exhibition removal

*All in-person events are subject to CDC and City of Philadelphia guidelines and restrictions.


We’re looking for designers and companies to submit one design that can be showcased during DesignPhiladelphia at our Cherry Street Pier Festival Hub. All designs should have a working prototype that is ready to be displayed. 

Examples of eligible product design categories include (but are not limited to): health and medical, furniture and lighting, children’s products, sports and recreation, home and living, workplace and tools.

While there is no size requirement, finalists are expected to exhibit their product at Cherry Street Pier for the entirety of the Festival. Finalists will be expected to transport, install, and uninstall their exhibit.

Please submit the following items to the DesignPhiladelphia website: 

  1. Entry title and concept tagline
  2. 3-4 images of your design, can include photos, sketches, renderings, and/or drawings*  
  3. Bio of your company and headshots of team members*
  4. Narrative describing your design problem, process, and solution (500 words max)
  5. Production plan
  6. Optional: Project video (max two minutes)
  7. Optional: Project website

*Only .PNG, .JPG, or .TIFF files are acceptable, each file limited to 2MB


The jurors of Best In Emerging Design will be a multidisciplinary group of design professionals from the Philadelphia region.


  1. Evidence of applied research and process 
  2. Originality and creativity of concept
  3. Construction and organization (craft of submission)
    • Quality of graphics at submission
    • Craftsmanship of final installation at exhibit floor upon finalist selection
  4. Ability to be reproduced (i.e. material source, production costs, etc.)


Contact Elizabeth Paul at or Jermaine Jenkins at

By submitting an entry to this competition, the designer acknowledges that the work submitted is original and the intellectual property of the applicant. DesignPhiladelphia (DP) and the Center for Architecture and Design (CFAD) claim no responsibility or accountability in any form whatsoever for any misrepresentations or other legally infringing matters of authorship. DP and CFAD reserves the right to publish and/or reproduce images of all contest submissions, as well as event photographs or video footage in which the designer appears, in any publications or other media produced by or for the Center for Architecture and Design for the purposes of advertising, promoting, illustration, or information. The designer also waives any right to approve any use of these photographs of video footage and releases DP, CFAD, and the photographer/videographer from any claims arising in connection with their use.


2021 Competition Closed