The Ponoko Jewelry Design Challenge Winners!

It is with great pleasure that today we announce the Invitation Round Winners of the Ponoko Jewelry Design Challenge. We’ll be emailing all winners individually but below are images and links to each design and the designers page on Ponoko. Many of the designs are now for sale so feel free to click thru and get a unique gift for yourself or someone you love.

Comments are from our judges Dan Emery and Jennifer Perkins, of the Naughty Secretary Club on their thoughts on each design. Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to all participants who made this such a great success. We’re planning more challenges for the near future so you can all stretch your designing talent again.

Grand Prize Winner


“This idea takes the concept of beading into the digital and makes it even more customizable. It is interactive and playful with the potential to make all types of jewelry. Color and material are treated with sensitivity that relates well to the concept of the changing seasons”.

“Since we don’t have a real fall in Texas the multi colored leaves of seeingthingsconz Season Change Necklace caught my attention”.

Runner Up Winners


“Simply beautiful and well resolved. The relationship to the body is treated with sensitivity and care”.

“I was quite drawn to her bubbly Radiolaria Bracelet. The combination of the satin ribbon and the plastic, not to mention the adjustable factor was quite nice”.


“The Hair comb by Schofe was a very close second place. I love the vintage look of the comb as well as the fact that they were the only people that submitted something to be worn in your hair”.

“A great take on body ornamentation”.


“Quirky and clever ode to industriality, both in object and materiality. A stunning presentation as well”.

“I chose this necklace for several reasons. Fist being that it caught my attention more than the other designs and is something that I would wear. Statement necklaces are the must have accessory for spring and summer 2008 and Screw Loose definitely counts. I thought the project was a perfect combination of materials, design and a sense of humor. A screw loose is “a reaction to the frustrations of building flat-pack furniture”. Anyone who has ever made a trip to IKEA feels their pain. The large necklace has charms for everything you will need including: hammers, saws and drills. There is of course some assembly required, but this gives you a little liberty with the design so that each necklace can be different for each person. I also thought that Lem-On had the best pictures of their necklace. When selling jewelry online at a place like Ponoko it is important to not only have pictures of the entire piece, but also close up detail shots as well as images of the jewelry on an actual person to get a feel for the size. When I saw that Screw Loose was big and chunky and more like a collar, I was sold”.


“Good sensitivity to material and colour. Well presented design”.

“I enjoyed the fact that Megan Ellis took her Raya bracelet a step further by rubbing colored inks into the engraved patterns”.


“Well presented and eye-catching design”.


“Humorous concept that provides some light relief to the world”.

“Siamese Chicks Brooch made me giggle”.


“Great use of 2D profiles to build up an interesting fluid form”.

“There is something very lovely and organic about the Orchid Necklace by Nervous”.


“The laser cut edge is treated and celebrating in a way I have never seen before. Very intriguing idea”.


“An attractive delicate design”.

“I loved Collin Francis and his Tree Oddity Pendant with it’s super clean style and feel”.


“Clever use of the laser and material which results in a versatile range of products”.

You can check out all the winners for the open round with images on our blog. And you can check out all entries to the competition within the Ponoko showroom.

And lastly a big shoutout to all of the Invitation Round finalists.

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can’t believe this is what made it.

Not to knock the chosen, but it doesn’t seem like many of these “winners” were too great for this type of contest. It’s no fault of their own. I blame the poor judging that seemed to rely upon it’s own gawdy taste than holding firm to the judging criteria. For shame. How can this company maintain a quality profile if this is what they choose to represent design.

publy, our users creations have nothing to do with our “quality profile”. We don’t kick people out of Ponoko for not looking a certain way or designing a certain way. We just don’t believe in that kind of bs, it’s part of our reason for being, that we provide an opportunity for everyone. That’s why what you see is unbridled creativity. Love it or hate it, it is what it is. However, we do feel your pain in not being able to judge, so we guarantee that the next Design Challenge will have a community voting aspect. Hope you come in and make your voice heard.

These were all really cute and clever designs! Well deserved winners (and runners up)! I especially like the hair ornament and cut out bracelet, plus the color combination on the winning design!

Definitely have public vote next time guys!

Results I see here are surprising. Not all works here are good, some are outright bad… and I mean winning entry especially. Why that one? It does not bring or speak clearly about laser-cutting as a new & enabling new technology… or about new “beading” method.
I suppose now we can add our own shapes to it… OK… but how’s that new idea? I mean, it looks OK – but I really did not expect that one to be among 10 chosen works. It is ancient idea, just laser-cut, with a lot of waste material too. Would it be different if these were, say, letters instead of leaves? There’s so much more potential to laser-cut forms than this.

Radiolaria and tree oddity are beautiful, though. As well as Orchid, as a form, but it looks somewhat oversized. Easily fixable.
Looking forward to next one.

if you don’t think the winners were up to scratch, then I look forward to seeing your entries clean up in the next comp…

That was highly useful comment Ben. Right.

Anyways… I care about Ponoko and what they are trying to do… and I was simply offering my opinion. That’s what this comments section is for.

I totally agree with Aziz! I don´t think that the chosen designs were the best. What was the judging criteria? You said that innovation, originality, presentation, interesting use of materials, attention to detail, and production feasibility were important. So, sense of humor was not included!
I think some of the chosen works don´t qualify, specially the winner design.
I am really disappointed, I hope the next time you will respect the original terms of the challenge.

You really think the winner didn’t qualify Vicky? I think the winner qualifies under all those criteria. It’s very subjective though and I’ll admit that the final prize winner wouldn’t have been my choice, but I wasn’t a judge. What do you think should have won?

I think that the winning entry is lovely and sophisticated. Part of the fun of a juried show/contest is the unique perspective of the judges.

If this contest was purely about good design, I also don’t think the entry that won deserved it. It lacked grace. It did not push the technological envelope, rather it looked like buttons strung by a child appearing on how many “crafty” blogs. Sophisticated? Ugh. They looked like strung gummibears. This idea was the weakest of all of the top ten.

The winner could have been at least two entries right off the bat- the mesh white bracelet, and the orchid necklace. I’m with Aziz- can I get a witness!?

Clearly the contest had the criteria of “Let’s highlight something really easy, so that*everyone* will use Ponoko!” rather than “Let’s have a contest highlighting good design.”


I’m surprised by the negativity in the comments– I think all the presented examples are great. Although my personal favorite is the Tree Oddity, the leaf designs in the #1 entry are beautiful, and I have no trouble seeing it as the top choice.

Of course, I had nothing entered in to the contest, either. Perhaps ‘Sour Grapes’ is the more appropriate theme of the thread. 😀

Holly, you’re dead wrong. There was no criteria to highlight something easy. The results are based on the judges own thoughts. I think that the reality is there is a very wide opinion on what is “good design”. While you might find a few people who’ll agree with your opinion on what is good, you’ll find others who think completely differently. That’s just the case we have here.


You guys are obviously trying hard to do this thing (which we appreciate!) and the winners are okay (all the Nervous System stuff is exceptional) but…have you SEEN the other entries? Flyaway and Scapes aren’t in here? The results just seem weird.

I think that some of the comments are not negative opinions, but opinions. Aziz and Holy explain why they dont like the winner desing. And I understand their reasons. I also think that the winner desing is not the best of all. And this result surprised me.
Anyway… I have found PONOKO recently and it was a great discovery for me. I think in a way is an excellent forum to make your desing training. Here you can be an amateur. You can try things, they give you information, theres a forum where you can share your opinions and make your questions… I think is a good place to make a work without competition and pressures. May be the most importat thing in this case is to play with the possibilities. You can fail, you can made an aweful desing, but you can try again. And I find this wonderful.
I work in a creative, very competitive, stressful world. I think this kind of envyroments spolied creativity, so I am in PONOKO to be free to be bad.
I am not going to judge in a severe way the results of the competition. Im only waiting for the new one to send my desings.
Last words and sorry for so many: I also agree with Aziz about the Ben`s comment. Its not a opinion and this section is to give an opinnion, not to have a figth.


I think these are great, especially “screw loose.” For anyone who’s not happy with the outcome of the contest: 1. why so mean? 2. The cool thing about this contest is that it highlights the fact that you can make ANYTHING your heart desires with the Ponoko product and in that way, it is a total success. Please, if you have so much pent up anger, turn it into a great design… Ponoko can make it 🙂

Hey everyone, it’s wonderful of you all to be passionate about the contest whether your happy with the results or not. So thanks for commenting and giving us your perspective.

I agree with both aziz, Holly and Vicky’s comments, I was disappointed with the the winning design too. It is cute but I think there are more deserving winners in the top 10 and many in the gallery.

Some of the chosen top 10s look like the products of first year design students learning what design is, such as the statement necklace, the top winner, Megan Ellis’ ring, Siamese Chicks Brooch and the last top 10 entry. They are all DESN101 projects.

I think the problems lies in the fact that it is called a “Design Challenge” because there is a big difference between design and craft (that’s why there is a univeristy degree specialising in design and another in art and crafts) and I feel in some ways by announcing these as design challenge winners, it is an enormous insult to those people that takes a design challenge like this seriously.

By simply calling it a craft competition, this would solve half of the problem because our expectations would have been different.

This is a really interesting point lena, thanks for sharing. Do you think we should have separated the contest into Crafters and Designers? I wonder how other people feel about that. I don’t think we considered the difference much beforehand (I think we were a bit scared we wouldn’t get ANY entries!). We also know that some of our users are so new to all of this that they probably don’t consider themselves a Crafter OR a Designer. Perhaps the stronger feelings in these comments are from Designers and that’s a concern. We want to make Ponoko a place Designers feel comfortable.

Perhaps my point is a bit on the semantics side, but I think the success of a competition is depended very much on tightly defined objectives. That is to say that when you say you are looking for details, you should define quite clearly what you mean by it. For example, do you mean details as in the way the design is assembled? Or do you mean detail as in how complicated a design is? Or how consistent a design is? You see, people interpret things very differently, so tell them what you mean!

It is not necessary to have separate designers’ and crafters’ competition, everyone should have a chance to participate, but when the winning designs are not consistent with the judging criteria (again because it was not tightly defined, everyone has their own interpretations on what the judging criteria were), it makes people wonder, like publy said: “how can Ponoko maintain a quality profile” when it went back on its’ original judging objectives (I think most Designers would agree with me)? Because let’s face it, everyone contributed a great deal of time and thought into this competition, time is money and we all deserve a fair chance at it because we all in some ways invested something in it, and not be at the mercy of some subjective judges that we have never met.

If the designs were solely judged on the individual’s taste (which is fine), then publish some info about them, what are their hobbies, what do they like? What do they do in their spare time and what are they looking for the most in this competition. Otherwise if it is criteria based competition, make every criteria percentage based, so people know what is the most important thing they have to do to win, eg. Innovation 20%, clarity 5%, originality 5%, material 30%, details 5% & feasibility 35%, so they won’t spend so much time on things that aren’t as important. The winning designs should also have their marks published, so that other people can see why exactly they have won.

John Lewis

Hey lena, we’d really like to introduce community voting in the next design challenge. From your comments would it be fair to say that, as a designer, you’re not interested in this because it would be subjective or based on individual’s taste?

Hey John, all competition is worth a go 🙂 But I would consider how much time I’m willing to spend on it.

lena, although i get the spirit of your suggested methodology, i think it will miss solving the main objection i hear voiced in this thread: strong bias. For example, one’s version of innovation may vary wildly from the next, no matter the percentage you assign the variable.

i’ve had the privilege of judging many design competitions and believe the most successful results are achieved by enlisting a larger, mixed group of professionals, representing a spectrum of approach and style, to participate. you get the benefit of a more sophisticated critique and the bias issue is largely neutralized.

I am quite glad to see that this comment section has encouraged some productive debate rather than simply unbridled praise. Lena makes a very valid claim in pointing to the inherent differences between craft and design (and I would be hesitant to even call some of the entries craft). But what does shine through is the sentiments of the judge, Jennifer Perkins. Her taste (as seen by her website) is clearly evident in her decisions of the chosen. Can we get a few more hard-line judges for the next competition who can adhere to the criteria? Public voting would be great, but just for a “People’s Choice” award, not the entire competition.

I do think that Ponoko is a fantastic resource that is capable of pioneering production for anyone, and has a huge future potential (especially when other rapid-prototyping/manufacturing techniques are added). And Steve, you misread me. I am not saying that you should “kick people out of Ponoko for not looking a certain way.” My comment was made in regards to this contest only. I agree that Ponoko should remain as an open-source platform. Of course that’s the idea. But when you hold a competition to spark creativity, and promote Ponoko, you should be more apt to choose the entrants that most embody your company and capabilities.

Hi Everyone, we at Ponoko would like to thank ALL of you for your input on this. We’re listening and we’ll be making changes to how we do things in the future to try and incorporate your points. We can’t guarantee we won’t make mistakes again but we are excited that you feel strongly enough to give us your input and suggestions. Thanks again.

One thing I find strange is that the images you show in this post are the images presented before the products were made and not the ones submitted in the final round.

Hi Jessica. You’re right. The reason we went with the previous images is simply a time issue. It’s quite a bit of manual labour to put them onto the blog and we’re really stretched at the moment with time. So we went with the images we already had uploaded into our blog system but changed the links so people would hopefully go through to the showroom on the pieces that interested them.

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