2011 has been a year marked by the extreme winds of mother nature, political upheaval and economic uncertainty. But in this time of unpredictability, design has emerged as a voice of reason, offering elegant solutions for inelegant problems and championing the sheer magic of human resiliency.
In March, the world was gripped by the tragedy of the Tokhoku earthquake and designers responded immediately with fundraising efforts, disaster relief assistance and information systems to show support unbound by geography. The ebullience of the Arab Spring was tempered by reality as newly liberated countrymen and women looked towards building a brighter future together with designers on the ground, lending a helping hand. Closer to home, designers helped write a new chapter in the lives of disabled American veterans returning home from war.
Designers changed the world. 2011 welcomed the world’s seven billionth personâ€”designer’s prepared for this milestone with innovative and empathetic solutions for managing our growing global community. Cooper Hewitt’s Design with the Other 90% exhibition is the most comprehensive and wonderful example of some of these solutionsâ€”a computer station made out of an oil drum, bicycle phone chargers and sandbag architecture, just to name a few. In other design exhibition news, The Museum of Modern Art took a look at the communication between people and objects in their phenomenal crowd-sourced exhibition, Talk to Me, sparking what we hope will be an ongoing public discussion about interaction design.
Designers made this year fun. This year, we painted with light, made rainbows with circuits, watched a man fly and saw a new world of possibilities in the best art project ever. We made printing exciting againâ€”whether it was printing solar cells, making mini letterpress printers, 3D Printing Stephen Colbert’s head, printing food or printing your digital feed.
At Core77, 2011 marked our 16th year as an online resource for the design community. And what better way to celebrate than to reward our collaborators, old and new, with a trophy. The Core77 Design Awards trophy, to be precise. We kicked off the Core77 Design Awards program with 15 categories of design excellence judged by a distributed jury representing 8 countries. In our inaugural year, we had over 600 entries (including 250 video testimonials). And did we mention the live broadcasts? Another first for the Core77 family is our recently released Hand-Eye Supply catalog, our first printed catalog and the Hand-Eye Supply x Vanport American Craftsman apron, our very first Hand-Eye Supply product collaboration.
It couldn’t be a truly sweet, Sweet 16 without some bubbly. Earlier this year, we popped champagne to celebrate the redesign of Design Directory, our searchable listing of professional design firms. Design Directory has been a flagship for the Core77 family connecting designers with business. The business world enjoyed its own share of bottle popping in 2011! IBM turned 100 this year while their iconic Selectric Typewriter turned 50. Braun turned 90 this year. While we were busy reviewing the newest Dieter Rams monograph which includes a deep delve into the Braun archives, one of his iconic designs for Vitsoe, the 606, turned 60! Wikipedia turned 10 this year with a series of open events, while some newer entrants in the business world celebrated their own millionth milestones: AirBnB saw it’s millionth booker and Kickstarter met it’s millionth backer. These smaller markers are a peek at trends to come: people all over the world vote for sharing resources and supporting one another through the connective powers of today’s technologies, while our centenarians are a testament to the power of good design. As Rams himself states, “Good Design is Long-Lasting.”
We also said our goodbyes. It is no exaggeration to say that the world will not be the same without Steve Jobs. In this year alone, we wrote about the iPad2, iCloud, Jobs’ plans for the new Apple HQ, and his resignation in Augustâ€”for us, the design history of Apple will remain the heart of Jobs’ legacy. In 2011 we also said goodbye to Hot Wheels Inventor and Mattel Co-Founder Elliot Handler, design strategist Sylvia Harris and Bang Olufsen’s David Whitfield Lewis. We also remembered Tobias Wong during this year’s New York Design Week events.
You will be missed.
So as we close out 2011, join the Core77 team as we look back at some of the best and brightest from the past 365 days in our Year in Review.
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