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In graphic design news this week The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum announced that First Lady, Michelle Obama will celebrate the 2012 National Design Awards by hosting a White House luncheon on Friday, July 13 honoring this year’s award winners. Continuing a tradition started with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2000 when the National Design Awards was launched, and subsequently carried on by First Lady Laura Bush, Mrs. Obama serves as honorary patron for this year’s awards.

In addition to recognizing the innovative work of the winners, the awards, which were “established to promote excellence and innovation in design,” act as part of a larger design education initiative, reflected by the accompanying events, panel discussions, workshops and public education programs held in conjunction with the awards during National Design Week (Oct. 13–21)—a mission that fits well with the First Lady’s education focus.

Describing Mrs. Obama’s role as patron in a press release, museum director Bill Moggridge said “The First Lady is a powerful advocate for design innovation and education outreach, and we are truly honored to have her patronage again this year.” In support of Mrs. Obama’s emphasis on education several award winners including Richard Saul Wurman, Janine Benyus, Rebeca Méndez, Thom Browne, Evan Roth and Scott Wilson will also participate in a Teen Design Fair prior to the luncheon where local high school students will have an opportunity to interact with them one-on-one.

Demonstrating the exciting and diverse range of design practice today, the awards include ten categories: Lifetime Achievement; Design Mind; Corporate & Institutional Achievement; Architecture Design; Communication Design; Fashion Design; Interaction Design; Interior Design and Landscape Architecture and Product Design. This year’s winners are:

• Lifetime Achievement: Richard Saul Wurman
• Design Mind: Janine Benyus
• Design Patron: Red Burns
• Corporate and Institutional Achievement: Design that Matters
• Architecture Design: Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects
• Communication Design: Rebeca Méndez
• Fashion Design: Thom Browne
• Interaction Design: Evan Roth
• Interior Design: Clive Wilkinson Architects
• Landscape Architecture: Stoss Landscape Urbanism
• Product Design: Scott Wilson

Designers, students and design aficionados can view slideshows of the winner’s work at www.cooperhewitt.org/national-design-awards and educators can find specific resources, including over 400 national and state aligned lesson plans here.