Shepard Fairey wins Design of the Year



American designer Shepard Fairey's Obama Poster has been awarded the Brit Insurance Design of the Year award at the Design Museum in London.


The Blog Vote was awarded to Magno Wooden Radio, manufactured by locals in Java, Indonesia, and designed by Singgih S. Kartono.


The winners were announced at the Design Museum yesterday, where an exhibition of all the shortlisted designs is on show until 14 June.

Here's some more information from the Design Museum:


Brit Insurance Design Award 2009 Announced
Obama Poster, Shepard Fairey

Iconic poster receives official recognition through prestige of international design award

Shepard Fairey’s Obama poster has triumphed in a shortlist of 90 other designs to become Brit Insurance Design of the Year 2009. Chosen as the most innovative and forward thinking design from the past 12 months, Alan Yentob announced the winning design at a gala awards dinner hosted by Naomi Cleaver at the Design Museum.

The design was chosen from the seven category winners by a panel of judges including Alan Yentob, Paola Antonelli, Karen Blincoe, Peter Cook, Sarah Mower and Yves Béhar. The panel commented, “If ever there were to be a ‘The Poster of the Year’, the Obama Poster would be it. The US election was a watershed in contemporary history and this poster demonstrates the power of communicating ideas and aspirations from grass-root level. Just as the presidential candidate's campaign speeches recaptured the lost art of oratory, so this poster breathed new life into a form that had lost its purpose. Fairey's poster came not from a marketing campaign, but as a self initiated fund raising campaign. The poster did its job by becoming a collector's item. More than that it’s encapsulated the mood of its time.”

The Obama poster was nominated by design expert Patrick Burgoyne for the Graphics category. As a reputable US street artist famed for his propaganda style artwork and fly postering, Fairey created limited edition works to sell and raise awareness for Obama’s 2008 Presidential Campaign.

The poster has become a lasting testament of the success of the Obama campaign, as well as an iconic symbol of history. Patrick Burgoyne said, “It seems sure to be one of the defining images of the US Presidential campaign [as well as] an example of how designers can get involved in political campaigns in a meaningful way – sales of his poster have raised over $400,000.”

Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum said: “The Obama poster is a reminder of how extensively the design world impacts our everyday life. The poster has become an international emblem of recent history; I am delighted that it has won this year’s Brit Insurance Design Award and received rightful recognition.”

The Blog Vote, which was introduced this year to encourage public participation, generated a different conclusion as to who should win this year. With 7,312 people voting, the dominant winner was the Magno Wooden Radio in the Product category.

The Obama poster, along with the rest of the shortlist, is currently on show at the Design Museum until 14 June.

More about Brit Insurance Design of the Year awards:


Exhibition podcast

Category winners

Full shortlist

Yves Béhar wins Design of the Year 2008

Category winners 2008

Shortlist 2008

Design Museum drops Designer of Year show

Posted on Thursday March 19th 2009 at 12:01 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Eric

    Shepard Fairey wins for posterizing a photograph he stole?! This is bad news for real artists everywhere!

  • Anonymous

    everyone should watch the Obama Deception

  • M


  • biboarchitect

    No Comment!!!

  • Luxury Larry

    Tha’ts retarded. There were far more better design in there than a silly poster! It’s all political?

  • farce

    PROGRESS may arse!! ….the only CHANGE I’ve experienced is being laid off!
    Why would anyone win an award for basterdizing an Andy Worhol?

  • mikaël

    the fairly poster has nothing to do with wArhol and everything to do with propaganda, like all of fairly’s work. maybe lack of common knowledge would explain said layoffs…

  • mikaël

    uhhh fairey, guess that was a fail

  • terrain

    Why crediting Andy Warhol for a photograph he simply silk screened?

    Why awarding Shepard Fairey?

    Re-read the argument:

    Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum said: “The Obama poster is a reminder of how extensively the design world impacts our everyday life. The poster has become an international emblem of recent history; (…).”

    Can any other design on the short-listed work claim to be an “international emblem of recent history”

    It is excellent to recognize this historic moment within the design field!

  • The Design Museum’s annual award causing contraversy, who would have thought it?!


    But seriously, congrats to everyone involved this year!

  • Jamieson

    Shepard Fairey is a total sell out. If you read his so called manifesto from his work at RISD, he tries to fight against capitalism and commercialism-now he has a clothing line, stickers, zines, and he’s trying to make a buck off of the President of the US… FAKE.

  • yep, this is absurd… i wouldn’t even classify it as a design per se… it’s more like an illustration. and with faireys track record of plagiarism, intended or not… what a shame.

  • kingmu


  • chrisR

    This image is seared into everybody’s mind forever. That is a success in propaganda and design.

  • contraversy , why?
    Obama it’s between iconic jet painter Andy W. and french painter Moretti …Good media cover but what about product design, industrial design to develop crafmanship and industry in Europe?

  • Ladies and gentlemen , MY winners are :

    Product design

    1/Senz XL Storm Umbrella…. Dutch are in the wind of product innovation…not only in the of trend Eindhoven + Li Ekelkoort + droog + mooi

    2/ Jorre can Ast, Jar Tops for Royal VKB… more for Royal VBK awards design company


    Furniture design

    1/Konstantin Grcic, MYTO Chair for PLANK German, Switzerland and Italy are in … great European cooperation!…

    2/3/ Shay Alkalay, Stack Chest of Drawers for Established & Sons

    and Adam Goodrum, Stitch Chair for Cappellini ….too colored too eye's catching too much talent !!!!

    4/ Tokujin Yoshioka, Venus Chair and Nendo, Cabbage Chair for the XXI Ct Man Exhibition curated by Issy Miyake …after japonese are the winners of the year of design

  • playcheckers

    zuy you are so out of touch it’s just not funny, interesting, educational anymore.

  • Art

    Have you seen this? An architectural twist on Hope: