Stamen Design Wins Prestigious Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum's 2017 National Design Award For Interaction Design


May 05, 2017, 12:01 ET from Stamen Design

SAN FRANCISCO, May 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum announced today that Stamen Design is the winner of the 2017 National Design Award for Interaction Design. The highly regarded award is given annually to an individual or firm for exceptional and exemplary work in the design of interactive digital products, environments, systems, and services. Stamen Design is an independent San Francisco-based studio, defining the field of data visualization, digital map-making, and strategic communications. The National Design Award acknowledges the studio for the diversity and breadth of its portfolio of bold, public and private sector projects, which translate information and data at the intersection of technology, storytelling, and design.

Stamen has consistently innovated in interactive design, building beautiful and often playful, technically sophisticated projects for a diverse range of clients from Digital Globe to the Dalai Lama, from New York City to the World Health Organization, from MTV, Facebook, and Google to NGOs and universities around the country. Uniquely interdisciplinary, the studio's work also intersects with the world of fine art where it has been exhibited at biennials and museums worldwide, will be presented at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A) in 2018, and is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Founded in 2001 by Eric Rodenbeck, Stamen's CEO and Creative Director, the studio's fearless creative identity straddles both research and development, functioning as lab and traditional design firm but also offering something entirely other and wholly innovative. "I'm deeply honored by the recognition," said Rodenbeck. "The studio's success is due to its ability, in all of its work, to go beyond the usual and take a risk. The thrill of a new uncharted landscape fuels our willingness to step into places we haven't stepped before, and that perhaps no one has. We're driven by our heads and our hearts and by whatever sets our pants on fire. 'Stamen,' our namesake, is our unapologetic invocation of something carnal, brazen and desire-driven, but also beautiful, connected, blooming and generative; it's a balance of human faculties. Our methodology combines analytical rigor and sophisticated applications of technology with a real lust for beauty, spontaneity, and fun, and we're doing good while doing well, striving to add value to society."

Providing an academic and analytic counterpoint to Rodenbeck, his business partner Jon Christensen, Stamen's Strategic Advisor and an adjunct assistant professor of digital humanities at UCLA, said, "The award is a recognition of a big-hearted vision of what data visualization and interaction design can be and the work it can do in the world." He added, "In a post-truth world, data and facts are important, but so are stories, empathy, and passion because data and facts are not enough. Data visualization can no longer be isolated in a niche of its own. It is increasingly at the center of meaning-making and storytelling."

The studio strives to marry the technological with the humanistic, softening the edges of the high-tech with accessible and relatable entry-points. Many of its self-initiated, independent projects, such as Field Papers, Stamen Maps, and Map Stack, are undertaken in the spirit of creating an open-resource, offering digital design innovations with which the public around the world can engage.

"Over the years we've been fortunate enough to work with some of the most forward-thinking people and companies in the world, empowered to tell compelling stories with their data, stories that have a strategic impact," said Rodenbeck. "Our studio, as well as our teaching and workshops, provide a safe place for people to explore and experiment with ideas, even when they have no idea how to convert the amazing data that their companies, researchers, nonprofits, and government agencies have at hand into something tangible. We help people figure that out, how to communicate clearly, and passionately, with their data."

For examples of Stamen's work, see: and

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Image credits left to right: Atlas of Emotions, an interactive tool designed to build emotional awareness, inviting users to visualize, identify, and explore five primary emotions in order to gain a better understanding of how they influence daily life (2016). Project partners: Paul Ekman and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Photo: Stamen Design. NASDAQ, a visualization of a single day of trading on the NASDAQ, illustrating the difference between normal and anomalous data (2012). Photo: Stamen Design.


SOURCE Stamen Design