Industrial designer Janina Hünerberg has previously received many renowned awards for her work that focuses on medical design. Recently she was presented with the German Design Award Newcomer 2020 from the German Design Council. A conversation about recognition, the design process today and her enthusiasm for medical design.
Janina Hünerberg was born in Hamburg on 3 January 1992. In 2016, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Industrial Design) from Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design in Kiel. This was followed with a Master of Arts in Medical Design two years later. Janina Hünerberg received multiple renowned awards when she was just a student, including recognition from the Bavarian State Prize for Young Designers as well as the Mia Seeger Prize for her measurement device to diagnose dairy-cow mastitis on the spot. She additionally took first place for the Muthesius Preis award and in the national round of the James Dyson Award. In 2020, she received the German Design Award Newcomer 2020 from the German Design Council, which comes with prize money of EUR 15,000.
Her most significant past works were also in the field of medical design, among them LYBOprotect, an antibiotic plaster for the preventative treatment of Lyme disease from tick bites; BIDOO, a non-invasive blood glucose meter for dogs and cats; and CONTIGO, a navigation aid that helps people with early-stage dementia find their way back home independently. Janina Hünerberg has been working as an industrial and medical designer at Holm & Laue GmbH & Co. KG since 2018.
Ms Hünerberg, what does the “Newcomer 2020” distinction mean to you?
I am extremely happy about the award as recognition of my work. The entries for the German Design Awards are assessed by an international, expert jury, which for me meant that I must be on the right track.
What benefits has the award offered you?
The German Design Council provides an enormous network of contacts that we finalists could use wonderfully. It was fantastic to be part of the awards ceremony, for example. I can make good use of the prize money to bring my personal projects further along.
What defines the design process for you today?
These days you have to combine a lot of things in design. You have to incorporate new technologies without losing sight of the person. What’s more, clients’ and users’ expectations are very high because they are used to high standards. These things also need to be considered to design good products.
What is the exceptional challenge for design in the 21st century?
The new technologies and media not only present challenges, they also offer new opportunities because they are so easily accessible for all people. I can get information about anything from the internet, I can learn things quickly and then insert all of this into my design. I can be in dialogue with people across the world. These possibilities provide a huge number of benefits, for instance I can get quick feedback, respond to it and adjust my products accordingly.
What appeals to you about medical design in particular?
What especially fascinates me about medical design is the interaction between people and products. Good medical design gives a product a certain degree of intuitiveness, meaning that anyone can use it without needing to be an expert. Here it is particularly important to focus on the person – the stakeholder who will later use the product.
About the German Design Award Newcomer
The German Design Council’s Newcomer Award supports young designers who catch attention through their extraordinary work and creative talent. The jury of international experts for the German Design Awards selects five finalists from among all nominees. Each year the winner is announced at a ceremony for the German Design Awards which forms part of the Ambiente fair in Frankfurt am Main.
The awards, which are endowed with prize money, do not accept applications and instead consider nominees proposed by universities or the German Design Council. Participation is free of charge.
More information can be found at: https://www.german-design-award.com/newcomer.html