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UI students stick it to the competition with their award-winning thumbtack

Melissa Mitchell, Arts Editor
(217) 333-5491;


award-winning double-prong thumbtack
Gold Award-winning thumbtack

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Stick this somewhere prominent on your bulletin board: Five University of Illinois industrial design students won a first-place award in a competition co-sponsored by the Industrial Designers Society of America and BusinessWeek magazine for their redesign of … the thumbtack.

Gold Award winners in the student category of the Industrial Design Excellence Award competition are:
(EDITORS: See List.):

The UI students’ design, titled "Re-Thinking the Thumbtack," was one of only three to receive Gold recognition this year in the international competition. According to their instructor, UI industrial design professor William Bullock, the Gold Award is the top honor given by an industrial design organization.

"This is a feather in their hats – these things are very prestigious," said Bullock, who noted that the competition is open to anyone enrolled in an accredited industrial design school. The students created their design for Bullock’s professional-practice class.

The students’ thumbtack design was updated to more efficiently handle the many tasks tacks are typically used for: hanging wires and pictures, and serving as hooks.

The design also received a Design Distinction Award in the Student Work category in I.D. magazine’s annual design review. It will be showcased in the magazine’s August issue.

award-winning postal service delivery vehicle
award-winning prescription medicine bottle
  Silver Award-winning US Postal Service delivery vehicle and prescription medicine bottle

Two other UI students, enrolled in a class taught by Len Singer, received a second-place Silver Award in the IDEA competition. They are: (EDITORS: See List).

The winning student designs may be viewed on the Web at


CHICAGO (18) – Teresa Barin
OAK PARK – Michael Vostal
ROSELLE – Laura Naughton
ST. CHARLES – Scott Kochlefl


MISSOURI, Liberty – Matt Wertz




NEW JERSEY, Fairfield – Mark Baskinger, for the design of a prescription medicine bottle and a U.S. Postal Service delivery vehicle


KOREA, Seoul – Ki-Chol Nam, Myungil-Dong,
Kangdong-Ku, for the design of a U.S. Postal Service delivery vehicle