Design Principles & Practices International Award for Excellence

The Design Principles & Practices Journal Collection offers an annual International Award for Excellence for new research or thinking that has been recognized to be outstanding by members of the Design Principles & Practices Research Network.

Award Winners for Volume 14

Sounding the Fuzzy Edge between Research Insights, Design Hints, and Design Concepts

Within the last three decades, we have witnessed development of many theories on design approaches that render the process more solid and, thus, practiced by non-designer professionals. What is common for all of the design processes is that there is a moment of translation of research insights into design recommendations, and this point, however, has never been very explicit and it is rather seen as a fuzzy edge between switching between two activities. Within this article, we focus on this fuzzy edge reasoning to the extent this point can be demystified and explicit, or when it should remain fuzzy, reflecting on creativity and importance of engaging design professionals within the process. The discussion is based on a case study of students’ works from the UX Design course taught by the authors, where we refer to design tools as tangible concrete support that renders the design process more solid.


Margherita Pillan, PhD, Associate Professor, is the programme board director of the MSc Degree course in Digital and Interaction Design at the School of Design and the scientific director of the Interaction and Experience Design Research Lab at the Department of Design of the Politecnico di Milano. The team researche on UX Design, Design for Experience, Interaction Design, Service Design, interactive and digital media, responsive environments. She is member of the Management Committee and responsible for Design activities at the interdepartmental research laboratory Pheel – Physiology, Emotion, Experience Lab where she develops applied research on cognitive and emotional phenomena involved in the use of products, services and digital media. She teaches courses on UX Design, Service Design and Communication. Margherita Pillan is the author of 4 books and ca. 100 articles.

Milica Pavlovic is a postdoctoral research associate at the KU Leuven eMedia Lab working on design research projects for tangible and embodied interactions for health applications, where she is also an organising committee partner for the Advanced Master in Innovative Health Technology. Milica holds a PhD degree in Interaction and Experience Design from the Polytechnic University of Milan, where she worked as a research fellow and teaching assistant at the IEX Design Research Lab and PHEEL Lab. She developed her doctorate research in collaboration with the Joint Open Lab Digital Life and Services Innovation Department of TIM S.p.A. Her doctoral research focused on defining a design strategy for managing user experience within systems of ambient intelligence. During the PhD program, she worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Design Lab as a visiting researcher, as well as the TU Delft Robotic Building Lab as a visiting researcher and lecturer. Milica obtained a MSc double-degree in Interior and Systemic Design, from Polytechnic Universities of Milan and Turin, through the Alta Scuola Politecnica program for exceptional technology talents and innovators. She obtained professional experience working in renowned design studios and participated in international conferences and talks in the fields of design strategy, innovation and human-computer interaction.

Laura Varisco is a research fellow in Interaction and Experience Design at Politecnico di Milano within the Interaction and Experience Design Research Lab (IEX). She has a PhD cum laude from Politecnico di Milano and a MsC in Communication Design. Her research focuses on the use of personal data and big data within digital and interactive solutions and how their use can impact on the design process as well as on the individuals and the society. She is deeply interested in technological innovation and on the agency of new technologies and innovative tools in everyday life and in the design practice. Her expertise spans from the traditional UX Design approach and Ethnography focused on User Centred Design to the use of digital technologies and big data to collect and extract information and knowledge that integrates the design research with the possibilities offered by digital ethnography and data visualization and mapping. She collaborates as professional interaction and experience designer, Design Thinking workshop organizer and facilitator and design consultant with companies, design consultancies and research labs such as Samsung Design America (SDIC) and the interdepartmental laboratory on bio-marketing of Politecnico di Milano (Pheel Lab).

Past Award Winners

Volume 13

Alternatives to the Life of the Submissive: Working Collaboratively to Create the Conditions for the Development of Multiple Alternatives

Barbara Predan, The International Journal of Design in Society, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp.49–59


Volume 12

Pure Form: The Interior of the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC

Stephanie Travis, The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp.1–14


Volume 11

Reconceiving Creativity in Design Studio Education

Lisa Zamberlan and Stephanie Wilson, The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp.1–16


Volume 10

A Catalyst for Change: Understanding Characteristics of Citizen-driven Placemaking Endeavors Across Diverse Communities

Normoyle, Catherine, and Cotter Christian, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal—Annual Review, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp.41–58


Volume 8

Design Collaborations: The Good, the Bad, and the Unthinkable

Joe McCullagh and Jane McFadyen, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal—Annual Review, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.17–29


Volume 7

Drawing Conclusions: A Student’s Introduction to the Realities of Their Designs

Chad Schwartz, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal—Annual Review, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.9–28


Volume 6

Design Dramaturgy: A Case Study in New Media, Humor and Artificial Intelligence

Michael M. Meany and Tom Clark, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal—Annual Review, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.59–71


Volume 5

Framing Futures for Visual Communication Design Research

Ian Gwilt and Jennifer Williams, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal—Annual Review, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.81–98


Volume 4

Prefab-Interiority: Design Principles for a Sensuous Prefab Practice

Marie Frier, Anna Marie Fisker, and Poul Henning Kirkegaard, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal—Annual Review, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.415–426


Volume 3

Building a ‘box’: Discourses of School Design in the UK

Olga den Besten, John Horton, Peter Kraftl, and Peter Adey, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal—Annual Review , Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.95–104