Top honour in the design industry goes to Sweden – Thule Design Team is Red Dot: Design Team of the Year 2024

Thule, the renowned Swedish brand synonymous with outdoor adventure and lifestyle, has been awarded the honorific title “Red Dot: Design Team of the Year 2024”. The recognition highlights Thule’s unwavering commitment to innovative design, functional excellence and a deep understanding of its consumers’ needs. Since being founded in 1942, Thule has had an eventful history spanning more than 80 years. From a hook-shaped pike trap offered to local fishermen, to metal headlight grids, to ski and car roof racks, Thule is now the world leader in sports and cargo carriers and offers a comprehensive range of top-quality products for the great outdoors. From the smallest family outing to the grandest outdoor expedition, Thule makes every adventure possible.

Thule has been a successful participant in the Red Dot Design Award since 2011, winning distinctions for products ranging from backpacks to roof racks to strollers and more. In addition, Thule was honoured in the Red Dot Award: Brands & Communication Design 2019 as “Best Outdoor Brand” for its overall brand appearance.

This year, the company receives a very special honour within the Red Dot Design Award that no one can apply for: Thule is being honoured for their all-encompassing design achievements in product design with the title “Red Dot: Design Team of the Year 2024”.

Thule’s origin and the Småland mindset
The Thule brand and products are strongly characterised by the place of their origin: Hillerstorp. Hometown and operational base for Thule, Hillerstorp is nestled in the countryside in the province of Småland, in the south of Sweden. The region is known for its lakes, lush forests and rocky terrain, which historically made it a challenging place to farm. Therefore, the people developed a reputation for resilience, entrepreneurial spirit and a strong work ethic, which resulted in the region producing a remarkable number of successful companies, many of which started as small family businesses like Thule.

This geographical and historical background has contributed to Thule’s spirit of collaboration, innovation, and a deep appreciation for nature, and is clearly depicted in the work of Thule Design Team that reflects a solution-oriented mindset, passion and a unique approach to design. Thule’s products, in turn, embody this spirit, providing clear logic connected to their usage scenarios, whether it is starting an active lifestyle, starting a family or pursuing outdoor adventures.

Embodying brand identity
Thule’s design identity that follows the philosophy of “Bring your life” encourages individuals to embrace their passions, whether it’s skiing, biking, running with kids or simply living life to the fullest. The seamless integration of products, each complementing the other, creates a cohesive and visually stunning ensemble. Thule has curated a collection where the sum of all parts exceeds the individual pieces, selling not just products but a lifestyle of adventure and exploration. “By setting up the design team, we are now in a position to design not only individual products, but also the company’s entire range and therefore the brand,” says Henrik Eriksson, Global Design Director at Thule Group.

Henrik Eriksson, Global Design Director at Thule Group

Over the past years, Thule has meticulously honed its design philosophy, aligning product aesthetics with brand identity. By having established an in-house design team, Thule ensures consistency and authenticity in every creation, reflecting a timeless yet contemporary philosophy that communicates sophistication and professionalism, resonating deeply with consumers and employees alike. “When brand and design go hand in hand, the sum becomes greater than the parts and it creates an amazing sense of pride and ambition in a company,” Tina Liselius, Vice President Brand at Thule Group.

Tina Liselius, Vice President Brand at Thule Group

Consumer-centric design
Thule’s commitment to its audience is evident in its proactive engagement and dialogue with consumers. By prioritising functionality and understanding the diverse needs of its users, Thule delivers products that enrich lives and facilitate unforgettable experiences by enabling consumers to take the whole family and all the essentials with them on their adventures. Consequently, the products become Thule’s most important communication asset. Reflecting on the company’s journey, Henrik Eriksson emphasises the importance of staying true to the brand’s values. “Aesthetics is about representing Thule,” Eriksson explains. “It’s about creating a recognisable identity that resonates with our audience and embodies the values we stand for.”

As Thule looks to the future under new leadership, the brand remains committed to its core values and the relentless pursuit of excellence. The company is thus setting the standard for design innovation and consumer-centricity. With a team driven by passion, innovation and a deep-rooted connection to nature, Thule continues to inspire adventure-seekers worldwide. “We are incredibly humbled and pleased to receive this title,” says Henrik Eriksson. Thule’s recognition as Red Dot: Design Team of the Year 2024 reaffirms the company’s position as a trailblazer in the outdoor lifestyle industry. In keeping with the Småland mindset, Henrik Eriksson highlights the pivotal role of teamwork in Thule’s success: “The collective is always better.”

Congratulations from Professor Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of Red Dot
“With the title ‘Red Dot: Design Team of the Year 2024’, we recognise Thule’s remarkable achievement to seamlessly combine design and brand management. The products and the brand embody functional and emotional values and stand for safety and trust, which are clearly visible in the product design and brand communication. Thule’s unwavering commitment to developing products that prove their outstanding quality in countless tests and everyday use is exemplary in the industry. Thule’s commitment to sustainable design is also commendable. This attitude reflects a deep understanding of the evolving needs of consumers. The recognition of Thule’s exceptional design ethos underlines the company’s central role in shaping future design innovation. Congratulations to the Thule design team on this award.”

Red Dot: Design Team of the Year

Since 1988 the title “Red Dot: Design Team of the Year” is given annually as part of the Red Dot Award: Product Design to a team that has consistently demonstrated exceptional innovation, creativity and high-quality design. The honorary title celebrates a company’s overall design achievements and emphasises the collaborative effort within the design team. Winning teams demonstrate a strong commitment to innovation, user-centred design and sustainability principles. The title “Red Dot: Design Team of the Year” is unique in the world of design, and its esteem extends beyond the conventional design community.

Hall of Fame: all winning design teams since 1988

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