January 1, 2011

Design Feast Highlights of 2010

Like 2009, 2010 was another ambitious year of creativity. Here are my picks of people, places and things that proved most memorable for me:

To echo my first highlight of the last two years, I commend all those who strive to get things done, who aim to do good work and practice full-time integrity in these tough economic times. Even in the toughest times, creativity remains charged, and sometimes more so. To Gapingvoid’s Hugh MacLeod, “Art with purpose. Work with purpose.”

Photograph by Frau Kuchen

Growing and Learning at The Prinzessinnengarten
Highlighted in a Business News Report by Monocle magazine, Robert Shaw, a documentary filmmaker, and Marco Clausen, who worked in bars, dove into their gardening project with little knowledge of the field—but this didn’t scare them. Passion drove the project: they honed in on an unused space in the center of Berlin and transformed it into an urban garden. A gutsy move commanding admiration. What makes it impressive is their undeterred drive and commitment to succeed—despite a lack of related experience, as Shaw admits, “We’re not gardeners at all.” To also quote one of the garden’s visitors and participants, Jonathan, “No one’s an expert.” Shaw’s and Clausen’s urban garden project is for everyone.

The Scout’s Video Trilogy about the Joy of Creativity
At The Scout, a “lifestyle and design-conscious site” about cultural experiences in New York City, a delightful set of short documentaries is dedicated to craft. The first is an interview with the brother-duo Billykirk who make handmade, leathered goods. Architectural and interior design firm Roman & Williams is featured in the second, and chocolate-makers The Mast Brothers (above) are featured in the third and final installment. Each story is a champion of certain principles that ring true: size doesn’t matter in making good things; shared attitude is critical; achieving the impression of “well-made” is hard work. From writer Raymond Carver, “Art doesn’t have to do anything. It just has to be there for the fierce pleasure we take in doing it.”

Photograph by Joey Roth

Joey Roth’s Ultra-Simple Poster “Charlatan, Martyr, Hustler”
Industrial designer Joey Roth believes in making “products that push boundaries now and remain valuable for years.” This belief is demonstrated in his poster “Charlatan, Martyr, Hustler”. It’s part info-graphic and part op-ed, but 100% motivational. It visualizes the type of role model and co-worker in a stripped-down way. From walk-to-talk and bark-to-bite and vice versa, it’s crystal clear which type of person you aspire to become and the type of people you prefer to work with.

Lists of the Female Mover-and-Shaker Varietal
“A Field Guide to The Female Founders, Influencers and Deal Makers of the New York Tech and Media Scene” is a template for every city, no matter the size. Chicago’s all-female collaborative Quite Strong created and now sustain the “Lust List”, a growing serving of “quite talented and creative ladies.” The focus is on ladies who are passionate about design, business and technology and revel in these worlds.

Photograph by Reuben Stanton

“Time Flies” iPhone App Maker’s Open Process
Once I viewed the blog by Reuben Stanton, creator of the witty Time Flies app for the iPhone, I was smitten with sketches. Stanton shows his conceptual wares in wireframe after wireframe, for software features and apps he’s noodling about. Sharing these moments of process is just as rewarding as sharing the final product.

What are your Design Highlights of 2010?

As you think about it: Thanks for visiting and reading, and have an excellent new year of crushing it, rework and making ideas happen!