Archive Mode. Call 2021 ISFD INNOVATION + DESIGN ended on 7/1/21, 2:00 PM. Call settings are read only. See Current Open Calls


Innovation + Design is a competition intended for professional Maker/Designers and the next generation of serious woodworking students who are anticipating a career in the wood and related industries. The contest is open to professional Maker/Designers and students in North America.  




  • Full-time, degree, diploma or certificate seeking students, in an accredited post-secondary woodworking or related program (Post-secondary schools include colleges and universities as well as trade, art and union apprenticeship schools.)

  • Part-time, degree or certificate seeking students, in an accredited post-secondary woodworking or related program who are transitioning into a career in woodworking or design.

  • Students must be at least 18 years of age by July 17, 2020.

  • All students, including those who have graduated, must have the support of their instructor and school where the work was completed.


  • Those that make their living (or substantial income) from woodworking and/or design careers.


  • Student Entries are restricted to ten (10) per school and two (2) per student. 

  • A student may submit a maximum of two (2) projects, but must complete a separate submission for each project.

  • A Professional may submit a maximum of two (2) projects per category.

  • Projects must be composed of at least 50% wood or wood composite, except for pieces in the seating, accessory or lighting categories which may have a higher ratio of other material.

  • Project must have been built between October 2019 and March 2021; projects must not have been previously entered in any other national competition.

  • Project construction must be complete at the time of entry. The project may be lacking the finish coating. If selected as a finalist, the project must be completely finished in time for shipment to High Point (approx. August 1, 2021). 

  • Projects may be entered in only one category not multiple categories.

  • If you are submitting a prototype, it must be fully functional and finished.

  • All entrants are expected to have created their own design and plan of procedure.

  • Glass components must be tempered and properly secured when assembled (e.g., may not be “perched” unsecured as a table top).

  • Students and professionals must disclose if they have used manufactured parts or if they have involved any other persons or companies in their process (such as for upholstery, veneering, metalwork, turned pieces, instrument components, etc.)

  • ISFD® reserves the right to limit the amount of entries weighing over 400 pounds due to space and shipping constraints.

  • Categories 

The entry categories are as follows:

  1. Seating - Includes chairs and other seating pieces such as ottomans, benches and settees. Piece may be upholstered. Comfort, stability and aesthetics are primary. NOTE: Seating pieces must function as such. Judges WILL test the strength of joints by sitting on chairs (however, general public access to all pieces on display during the High Point Market will be restricted). 

  2. Occasional Tables - Includes functional, decorative occasional tables, stands. Emphasis is on design integrity, craftsmanship, joinery, and aesthetics.

  3. Occasional Storage - Includes occasional furniture whose primary function is storage. Included are wall units, étagères, curio cabinets, or movable storage intended for home use. It does not include entertainment or home theater furniture. 

  4. Lighting - Includes incandescent or LED fixed lighting intended for indoor home use, including table lamps, floor lamps, pendants and chandeliers.  Choice of materials, construction methods and joinery will be considered.

  5. Dining Room Furniture - Includes dining, counter or bar table, side chair, armchair, sideboard, credenza, server, china.

  6. Accessories - Anything Goes! No restrictions on style, materials or percent of wood used. Any home furnishings accessories that are floor standing (sculpture, large planters or vases, screens, pedestals, carts, etc.). 


•    Judging is done by panel of ISFD board members and professionals representing various sectors of the industry.  All entries are reviewed by the judges prior to the July 15, 2021 High Point Furniture Market to determine the finalists to be exhibited at the show. Judges reserve the right to reassign an entry to a different category if they deem it appropriate.

•    The Judging Process:

  1. Judges receive anonymous online submission consisting of images and the general Information requested by the online entry form.

  2. Judges score projects on a scale of 1-5 for each of the 5 criteria listed below.

  3. Scores are tallied and projects with the highest scores within their category are selected as finalists.

  4. Finalist projects are judged in person at the High Point Furniture Market on a scale of 1-5 for the criteria below.

  5. Scores are tallied and projects with the highest scores within their category may be selected as winners as agreed upon by the judging panel.

•    Judging Criteria:

  1. Design innovation on original pieces; or quality of execution of a known style or variation.

  2. Craftsmanship of the piece including construction quality, material choice and use, detailing, sanding quality, finishing quality.

  3. Functionality, stability, comfort, and if applicable manufacturability and marketability. 

  4. Construction techniques, appropriateness of the technique, joinery, lamination veneering, or upholstery.

  5. Aesthetics, scale, proportion, balance, rhythm, emphasis and unity.

            ***One additional point will be given during final judging if the design development Presentation Board is completed correctly. One point can make the difference for a win!***


  • Each Entrant may only win one prize package.

    • Best of Show $1,000

    • Runner Up - Best of Show $500

    • Category Winners $250

    • Free Time in Congdon Yards Generator to work on any project of your choice!

  • Judges reserve the right to skip an award level if they so choose.

  • All Professional finalists will receive a certificate of merit and will be in the Maker/Designer category of the 2021 Pinnacle Awards®.

  • All Student finalists will receive a certificate of merit and will be entered in the Student Pinnacle Award® category of the 2021 Pinnacle Awards®.

Entry Instructions

1.    Professionals and Students must Register Online here at Artcall and Create a User Profile.

2.    After a User Profile is created, log back into the Artcall website. Once you are logged in, click on the Add New Submission button. Next choose either Seating, Occasional Tables, Occasional Storage, Bedroom Furniture, Dining Room Furniture or Accessories. Type in the name of your project in the Title section. Type in the Dimensions of your project in inches and the Project Weight of your piece in pounds. 

3.    Professionals and Students must fill in the online request for a statement about their piece. The response should include but not be limited to the following points:

  1. What was your inspiration for this piece? OR If the piece is a reproduction, explain whether your intent was to make an authentic reproduction or if you have intentionally changed some details?

  2. What were your project goals?  Did you use a unique process, design element, or construction method?

  3. What type of wood(s) did you use? What wood products did you use? What type of finish did you use? (or intend to use if finish coat is not yet applied at time of entry)

  4. Did you use any special equipment, design software, jigs, or hardware? Were any of these new to you?

  5. What is the intended market or client for this product?

4.   Photos: Upload four (4) photos of the completed project using the Add Attachment button on the Add Entry Attachments page of the submission. Three (3) from different views plus one (1) detail shot. Upload these photos as JPEG files. Note: Preliminary review by judges is heavily reliant on the photos. It is to your advantage to submit the best quality possible. 

5.  Construction Photos/Documentation: Upload at least one (1) additional image showing the project during construction, or project plans, drawings, or working sketches. (Judges will not score based on the quality of construction documentation, but will use them as reference). If submitting photos, crop or remove people from the images.

NOTE: You should have five (5) total attachments in your submission.

6.  Only complete submissions will be accepted.  You may edit your answers and/or submission photos and documents at any time until the June 30, 2021 deadline. After the deadline no submissions or changes will be permitted. 


  • June 30, 2021: Application Deadline

  • July 15, 2021: Finalists notified

  • July 15 – August 15, 2021:  Period for coordinating shipping arrangements to High Point Furniture Market location in High Point, NC; Sponsor supported freight to exhibition site.

  • August 15, 2021: Your piece must have arrived to the High Point, North Carolina Phillips Collection warehouse Location

  • August 15th to September 15th: Photography will be completed by INNOVATION + DESIGN Photographers

  • September 3, 2021: Final on-site judging

  • September 19-24:  First Finalist Exhibition set up at THE LOFT at Congdon Yards, 400 W. English Rd, High Point, NC 27262

  • September 21, 2021 Exhibition Opening Ceremony and “Meet the Designer” event 7 – 8:30PM; winners announced.


The International Society of Furniture Designer is not responsible for any damage to finalist's pieces, including but not limited to damage during transit (inbound or outbound), set-up, staging, display, and take-down.  Finalist Makers/Designers are solely responsible for their exhibition pieces.

Entry Process Tutorial

Here is a quick video tutorial you can watch to help you with the submission process.

Questions? Contact John Conrad at (336) 307-0999