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Competition: Retail Design Legion of Honor

Honoring outstanding lifetime achievement in retail store design by the Retail Design Institute

Annually, the Retail Desgn Insitute solicits nominations from Professional members of the Institute to honor individuals' lifetime achievements. Forms are sent to Professional members in good standing seeking nominations for consideration along with supporting materials and documentation.

In 2000, recognizing the profession of retail design was driven not by business executives but by extremely talented and visionary designers, the Retail Design Institute established the Retail Design Legion of Honor. This award was designed to recognize and validate that talent. The award was envisioned for the entire design industry, not exclusively for the Retail Design Institute.


The rules are as follows, and Legion of Honor candidates must provide documentation or evidence that they meet the following requirements:

  1. The candidate should have a career spanning at least three decades (30 years) in the store design profession.
  2. The candidate should either be active in the store design/interior design profession or retired from the profession.
  3. The candidate should have a body of work recognized for its design excellence and influence on the store design community. A portfolio of projects can include Product Design, Graphic Design and Visual Merchandising as well as Store Design.
    a. At least three of this person’s design projects should have received national or international recognition – Retail Design Institute International Store Design Competition award, SHOP! (previously A.R.E.)  awards, Chain Store Age awards, Contract Magazine Design awards and/or others relevant to the global store design industry.
  4. Examples: Raymond Lowey and Bill Snaith are legend for both product and store design establishing themselves and their firms. The same is true of Ken Walker, Jim Terrell and Ed Hambrecht. Dudley Pope, Harry Le Grand and Barbara D’Arcy put their respective stores into the record books. Jay Fitzpatrick, Ron Pavlik and Norwood Oliver have collected dozens of awards each. Larry Israel was responsible for the open floor plan concept while Dick Shipley was the pioneer of the total environmental design we practice today. Alton Doody added marketing research and branding to our discipline.
  5. The candidate’s career should show a progression to becoming an influencer in the design industry and retail design over the span of their career:
    a. Positions either with consultancies or retail stores with design, and design direction/design management responsibilities culminating in a leadership role.
    b. The candidate should have garnered industry attention – publication of their projects, recognition of the individual, etc.
    c. Based on their creativity and design excellence they should have consistently gained attention for their design firm or retail organization.
    d. As leaders in their respective organizations, the candidate should have become expert at managing human and financial resources.
  6. The candidate should have furnished support and contributed time and effort to the design profession and the design industry overall.
    a. Membership in professional organizations {Retail Design Institute (formerly ISP), AIA, ASID, IIDA} and trade organizations {NADI, SHOP! (formerly NASFM and later A.R.E.), NRF} is highly preferred but not mandatory.
    b. The candidate should have a reputation as a design industry spokesperson, garnered through speaking engagements and assisting with and as part of major industry events and organizational activities in their country.
    c. The candidate should have worked as a mentor, guiding students and newcomers to retail design and the design industry overall.
  7. The candidate should stand out as a role model for others in or joining the industry. They must demonstrate the highest standards of personal character, integrity, professionalism, personal and business ethics.
  8. The candidate’s body of work should be recognized by retailers and the retail design industry for significant influence on retailing.
    a. The work has set standards for quality and creativity within the context of retail.
    b. The work is directional and innovative within the context of retail.
    c. The work has achieved notice and retail success ie: met directional or financial expectations.
  9. 8. Either the nominated candidate or their sponsor must furnish a detailed resume of their career and at least photos of their award winning work or preferably a power point presentation for review by the judges and inclusion in the video presentation at the Awards ceremony. This is essential since the judges must thoroughly evaluate each candidate’s work.
  10. Unless unavailable because of death or medical condition the candidate should be present at an awards ceremony concurrent with the Retail Design Institute’s Store Design Awards Presentation event in order to receive their award.
  11. As with all top awards within the Institute, the by-laws specifically prohibit reciprocity, and any evidence of such will automatically disqualify the candidate.
  12. A confidential panel of judges from the Retail Design Legion of Honor is appointed annually by the Chairman of the Retail Design Institute to review nominees, and their decisions are final.

This award is not about the Retail Design Institute and should never be used in lieu of existing Institute honors including Member of the Year, Fellow or Lifetime Achievement Awards, which specifically recognize a person’s contribution to the Retail Design Institute.

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