Best design of the last decade

Design is an umbrella that covers many formats: graphic, product, brand, packaging, process, interior, interaction, web, service, the list goes on. However there is a red thread that connects all of these – we can all appreciate good design when we see it. What can be less obvious are the hours, days or months (sometimes years) that go into that final creation. Great design should appear effortless, minimalistic and simple, but the ability to master design takes a deep understanding of how humans behave and communicate.

The Halo Effect:

Psychological research has shown that the human brain places great importance on visual information. How we see the world strongly influences how we feel about it and how we judge the things in it.  Studies have shown that people who were thought to be more attractive or more beautiful were also believed to be more honest, reliable and sensitive. Psychologists call this “The Halo Effect”, and the same effect is created by great design.

Well crafted design shines. It can speak to us on both an aesthetic and a functional level. It can stir up powerful emotions within us, and it can make or break a brand. Apple, the epitome of a design-led organisation, now has a market capitalisation of $570 billion, larger than the GDP of Switzerland. Its revenue is double Microsoft’s, a similar type of technology organisation but one not truly led by design. 

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Of course design can be a incredibly subjective. In the past 10 years of Creative Social we have seen trends come and go, it’s an ever evolving cycle.

We asked 10 Creative Directors to give to give their personal preference as to what the best design from the last decade has been:

BMW i8 

“So much design nods at the past, fetishes it even. This car, its engine and its looks, points firmly forward and the designers of it have not let that slip their mind at any point of its conception.”

George Prest, ECD, R/GA London


“functionality + beauty”

Ana Andjelic, Group Strategy Director, Spring Studios


“Pinterest made web 2.0 more visual. It’s image base DNA and visual langauage transformed and influenced a lot of sites and apps we see today. It was the world’s first ever ‘light box’ for image collection. Some brands have started to be smart about Pinterest but its potential is still largely unexplored.”

Alessandra Lariu, ECD at frog, co-founder at SheSays and Broadli

The Olympic Torch by Thomas Heatherwick

“Before he started they told Heatherwick “Whatever you do, no moving parts”. This was due to the failure of the cauldron at the 2010 winter Olympics, when one of the four moving parts of the cauldron had failed to work. Heatherwick proposed the most moving parts ever in an Olympic cauldron. How good was it? How many other Olympic torches can you remember.”

Sam Ball, Creative Director, M&C Saatchi

Austria Solar – annual report 

“An annual report by Austria Solar which came in a UV protected bag. When you took it out it was completely white but as it reacted to the sunlight it started to go brown and the content was revealled. It was a real experience for the end user, the ritual of unwrapping it and taking it into the daylight was really lovely.”

Tom Evans, founder, Bleepbleeps

Donnie Darko website by HiRes! 

Donnie Darko from Hi-ReS! on Vimeo.

“I can’t tell you how many hours I spent on this site – still (in my opinion) the best and most transgressive piece of web work ever made. Even better than the Requiem for a Dream site (also by HiRes!)”

Laura Jordan Bambach, Creative Partner, Mr President

“I could EAT this book. It has helped me out of a creative crisis many a time. It’s more than a book. It’s a creative life philosophy in page format. And it’s in only in dutch. I’m still waiting for a an english version… someone …please?”

Flo Heiss, Creative Director, Dare


BleepBleeps from BleepBleeps on Vimeo.

“It’s sweet, cute and just a genius bit of design. I like it when products and technology are humanised and this is just a really brilliant example of that. For a parent it’s perfect in so many ways.”

Bo Hellberg, Executive Creative Director, Brave, HeyHuman

Tesla Model S

“It’s a really smart piece of design that’s driving behaviour change in a positive way, and a great illustration of design at its most powerful; targeted, considered and attracting people to costume more responsibly. In California they’re now selling more Tesla’s than Lexus’s and Range Rovers combined and I think that’s an incredible triumph.”

Nicholas Roope, Executive Creative Director & founder, POKE


Do you agree with these choices? what do you think deserves to be added to the list? let us know.

This blog post is part of a series of content celebrating a decade of Creative Social #WeAre10


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