National High School Design Competition – Due Feb 12

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum recently launched its third annual National High School Design Competition, challenging teens around the country to design a solution to make the everyday—place, process, or object—accessible for all. Prizes include trips to New York City, Austin, and Minneapolis to participate in various mentoring activities, and more.


Nearly 56.7 million people in America are challenged by the environments in which they live and work.* While great strides have been made to design for accessibility, many of our everyday tasks and surroundings still remain a challenge for people of varying abilities. This is where designers (and you!) step in. Designers are creative problem solvers who work to improve all aspects of daily life. They design solutions that eliminate barriers and improve access for all.

The 2018 National High School Design Competition challenges high school students around the country to make the everyday—place, process, or object—accessible for all. Be ambitious, innovative, and bold! Identify a place, process, or object that you use often; identify a problem that makes it less accessible for people with disabilities; and design a solution for this problem. Create a sketch of your idea and describe how your design addresses the challenge. Review how to enter and use these resources to start thinking like a designer!

*According to a 2010 US Census Bureau Report


The design competition is open to all teens ages 13 through 19 years old who are high school students in 9th through 12th grades, or who are homeschooled students working toward a high school degree anywhere in the United States. You can enter as an individual or as a team of up to three people. Review the competition rules and conditions for complete information on eligibility.


The National High School Design Competition is organized in two stages. In Stage One, competitors will create and submit their design ideas per the entry requirements. Cooper Hewitt will select three finalists to proceed to Stage Two of the Design Competition. All Stage One entries will be judged anonymously.

During Stage Two, the three finalists will finalize their designs according to the requirements in the National High School Design Competition: Stage Two Brief document, which will be sent only to the selected finalists. Then, finalists will participate in a series of mentoring activities and travel to New York City to present their designs in person to the judges!

Please visit for further details.