The design of products is no longer reserved for professional designers only. With today's computer-driven prototyping machines, anyone can make designs and print them in 3D. To let as much people as possible discover their talents and share their knowledge, Waag and Premsela, Dutch Platform for Design and Fashion together with Creative Commons Netherlands and Fablabs organized the first (Un)limited Design Contest in 2009, later renamed as Open Design Contest.
The digital machines at the Fablabs are offering many design possibilities. That's why the design contest was split up in three categories: Form, Food & Fashion. In 2010, Fusion was added for remixes of designs from multiple categories. With every design came a 'blueprint', what means that anyone could also use the designs made by others. This aspect of open-source gave plenty of opportunities to create.
Well-known Dutch designers participated and gave workshops. In 2011, a French edition was held within the framework of the Futur en Seine Festival. After three editions, dozens of new designs had been submitted and in 2012 the contest was opened for other labs and renamed Open Design Contest. The 2013 edition was organized in Vienna. A final edition was held to design a Faiphone case in 2014.
The contest was open to anyone who participated with either a new design or a remix of an existing one. The blueprints and instructions relating to the submissions were published under a Creative Commons license. Contestants were offered the possibility to sell their designs through the international Etsy makers platform.
The contest functioned as an experiment in Open Design – the sharing of creative work in the same manner as open-source software. It allowed you to use the designs made by others, copy these and even adapt the designs on the conditions that you attribute your work, will not use it commercially and will use the same license yourself. Normally, copyright does not permit using existing designs without permission of the maker.
This project is made possible by a subsidy from the Creative Industries Fund NL.