In the spirit of the end of year Top 10's and despite saying I wouldn't do a Top 10, here's a Top 10 of design stuff that's happened in 2006. Except that it's a Top 15. In absolutely no order whatsoever.
One of our direct rivals, we've pitched against them several times this year. They've been doing some good work. Crap name though.
In an industry of mediocrity Williams Murray Hamm have always stood out. Anyone with a bit of design business knowledge will know that they're very profitable and that they are very well run. Not many design businesses can say that. Add in their massive awards tally (they topped the effectiveness and creativity league tables this year) and they've been ripe for a sale for sometime. Loewy have been saying they want to build a design services network and this is the most high profile (and probably most important) acquisition on the road to that goal. A brilliant addition to their stable.
3. CR Blog
For me Creative Review has years when it's good and years when it's bad, usually correlated with to the amount of inserts that fall out of the mag. The more inserts, the worse the issue. The newly launched CR Blog is completely different. Consistently good, no inserts. It looks good, the writing style is the right mix between blog and magazine and it's updated at a nice pace. Top marks. And it gets far more of my eyeball time the the magazine ever does.
4. Alan Fletcher
Can't finish without mentioning him, of course. Enough has been said already, but this was the year we realised how much we appreciated him.
5. Design Museum
The Design Museum has been under a resurgence of late. Fletcher aside, the F1 show was brilliant. When Rawsthron left many people thought it would lose it's way, instead it's continued along the same path. The 2007 exhibitions look good too.
6. Apple iPhone
I keep waiting for Apple to fuck up, but it never seems to happen. 2006 has been the year of the internet iPhone rumour. It's a testament to Apple's current talents that almost everyone thinks, unquestionably, it will be brilliant.
Personally I don't think it will anything at all like these. Or even like a phone. And yes, I'll be in the queue to get one.
7. Web Typography
Was 2006 the year people finally started to think about this? Let's bloody hope so.
8. User Generated Content and the effect on Graphic Design
City of Sound touched on this brilliantly here and we've had lots of discussions about it in the studio. What does it mean for the world's designers when the top websites (Google, eBay, Amazon, YouTube, MySpace) all look so bloody awful? How can you design for content that's not generated by you? It can be done and it can be done well. We're right back to function over form (thank God) and only the best will succeed.
9. Lippa Pearce
Lippa and Pearce are two very good designers. This year they left the hassle of their own firm and joined the relative safety of Pentagram. A decent year in anyone's book. But I question whether it's a good move for Pentagram. Do they really need two more middle aged male print designers? Probably not. They need some more people who instinctively understand digital. Digital naturals. Someone who can bring an element of wit to the web (to wit to web) that's been sorely lacking. Someone a little younger wouldn't go amiss too. That's my opinion anyway.
Another year of great work (check out the Beatles stamps), but it's the website that's impressed me this year. All design agency websites are shit so it's nice to come across one that isn't. When I first saw that the new website was designed in Flash my heart sank. But this site has proved easy to use, interesting, constantly updated and it looks lovely. I imagine Michael hates blogs but his Thought For The Week does the same sort of job nicely.
11. Ace Jet 170
Blog find of the year for me. Richard's website is a fantastic collection of design manna. All beautifully photographed. It's an amazing resource. If you haven't looked yet (why the fuck not?) then go now. One look is all it takes.
13. Cunt poster
So simple, so brilliant.
Again another one of our direct competitors who have been doing some great work. Particularly their stuff for The Hospital.
Anyone else got anything to add?