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Brit Designs of the Year

Brit Designs of the Year

I got to see the Brit Designs of the Year show at the Design Museum last week. It’s well worth a visit, featuring the usual extraordinarily varied mix of print, products, fashion and buildings from across ther globe. This year the whole thing is held together well by graphics from Cartlidge Levene.

I’ve already highlighted the number of magazine-related items that have been included, and my part in some of their inclusion, but there are plenty of other things worth seeing. I’ll concentrate on the magazines here, and a couple of other favourites I picked out that I haven’t seen featured elsewhere. The BBC made this quick overview that conveniently for me leaves out all the magazines, and one of the judges, Paula Reed from Grazia, has a detailed run-down on the fashion nominations.

Above: window display transferred to the Museum from the window of the YCN Library at 72 Rivington St.

Above, below: Chris Ware’s cover and strip for the New Yorker halloween issue last year.

Above: The Newspaper Club have printed a one-off special piece for visitors.

Berlin’s 032c, published by Joerg Koch, art directed by Mike Meiré.

London’s It’s Nice That magazine, spin-off from the blog of the same name (issue three out shortly, news of that tomorrow).

Also from London, The Happy Hippocrite, designed by APfEL.

Amazon’s Kindle is included, although at the time of my visit the displayed device was out of power. Welcome to the future!

I hadn’t seen these before – Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant gave designers Designpolitie a space on their front cover every day for three years. The project, called Gorilla, let the team create simple typographic commentries on the days news. They’ve been collected in a book.

The vast majority of the selections are non-magazine of course. Here are two things that stood out for me.

Half-game half music generator, Bloom (above) is exactly what you’d expect Brian Eno to develop for the iPhone. It’s one of those rare apps that have come about because of the iPhone/iPod Touch rather than using the new devices to improve existing services or ideas. Tapping the screen creates colour patterns and music that echo and repeat. There’s a lcertain level of control via a series of simple choices, but it’s the interface between finger and ear that is compelling. Very engaging and relaxing.

Sugru is a red modelling clay-like substance designed to add heft to any object you might need to add grip to. A great piece of design, it has immediate resonance for the elderly and very young but will also be useful to otheres. Completely unglamourous but utterly practical.

Category winners will be announced in the UK on live TV this Thursday, March 4, then the overall winner later this month. But that’s not the real point of this – the exhibition is a great overview of design across all disciplines.

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