Designs of the Year 2013

Winning Design: it's not always black and white.


colby neon poster design museum.JPG

The people's Choice winners have just been announced for the Design Museums "Designs of the Year" (see the Design Museum's full list here). These are some of my favourite colourful nominees from my visit to the exhibition.


colby neon poster joy design museum.JPG

 Made in L.A: Work by Colby Poster Printing Company. The contemporary graphics were curated & designed by Anthony Burrill and produced by the family run Colby company, who have continued to use woodblock, silkscreen and letterpress printing methods since 1946. Their pleasing no-frills style and energising colours continue to have an impact.

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Now how about printing...sounds???!!!

These magical postcards are from Uniform. The prototypes include these cards and a special player. By slotting them into the gadget and squeezing the printed "buttons" the conductive ink controls a play, pause and skip track feature. 

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Imagine combing these last two to create giant posters advertising bands, gigs and festivals where by being able to touch the special ink you could listen to their music!

Here's a link to the BBC website where Peter Thomas from Uniform talks about doing just this, with their "Listening Post" idea.

"There's a really different reaction from users to physical media as opposed to digital media, especially when it comes to music...

we're trying to recapture some of the tactile experience you got with vinyl records." Peter Thomas.


This could work brilliantly well for the partially sighted, posters containing spoken information or conveying a message.

Hands on again, but with Colour Porcelain! These exquisite pieces were hand painted by one the oldest Japanese porcelain manufacturers 1616 Arita. The simple modern design uses traditional Japanese colours, such as aquarelle blue, light green, red-orange and yellow ochre. Designed by Scholten & Baijings Colour Porcelain consists of three collections named after their decoration: Minimal, Colourful and Extraordinary. 

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In the Design Museum's exhibition the collection was displayed alongside images of the workshops where they were produced to communicate the craftsmanship behind them. I think if a lot of products were accompanied with an image of how they were made and who by it make make people consider where they are spending their money. Similar to cigarette packets showing health consequences, would you still buy that "bargain" with a photo of a sweatshop child peering at you? Or on the other hand would you be more likely to spend a bit more if you saw an established workshop stocked up with the finest quality materials? 


WINNER: Child Vision

The winner of the visitor's choice Design Award (voted for by the public) went to Child Vision. These self adjusting glasses have been a great help in developing countries where it can difficult or expensive to receive eye tests and have an individual's prescription lenses made. These liquid filled lenses can be adjusted by the wearer to help them see better and this design is specifically aimed at young adults. What a clever idea, see well AND look good! :)


There's more to come on this exhibition, so don't worry if you missed it. Lots more great designs to share coming up...