Infographic: 50 People Shaping The Future Of Design

If you look at the ideas each one of these people represents, you’ll find a broad narrative about how design is changing.


In our design issue last year, the Co.Design 50 laid out 50 of the most influential designers in America. This year, as a sequel, we took it upon ourselves to highlight 50 people who are shaping the future of design.


That sounds like a funny task. But our staff was after people pushing the boundaries of their discipline into promising new directions. Thus, you’ll find people like Jochen Zeitz, the chief sustainability officer overseeing PPR’s myriad brands, which include Puma and Gucci. You’ll find Evan Sharp, the cofounder of Pinterest, which just might be the next big paradigm in online shopping. And you’ll find David Holz, the CTO of Leap Motion, a company making gestural interfaces a reality for PCs.

Click to enlarge.

We think that if you look at the ideas each one of these people represents, you’ll find a broad narrative about how design is changing–how businesses are using design in surprising ways, how our interactions with computers and handheld devices are evolving, and how high-tech processes are working their ways into once-static disciplines.

To map out all of these people for our October 2012 issue, we tapped Ben Gibson, the designer behind Popchart Labs. I think you’ll agree that Ben did a superb job, and came up with an elegant solution for charting all of the myriad disciplines that each of these remarkable people touch upon. Enjoy!

The 9/11 Memorial, by Local Projects’ Jake Barton, who is part of the Co.D 50.


Part 1

Including Josh Brewer, the principal designer at Twitter and the company’s semi-official role model, and Krista Donaldson, the CEO of D-Rev, a startup that develops disruptive innovations for the developing world.

The Leap Motion detects gestures with 100 times more accuracy than anything before it.

Part 2


Including Matias Duarte, the man in charge of making Android more beautiful and usable, and Kenya Hara, the legendary art director at Muji.

Rodarte’s costumes for a recent production with a set by Frank Gehry.

Part 3

Including Dustin Mierau, the overlooked design-mind behind Path, and Laura and Kate Mulleavy of Rodarte, who have become inspiring costumers for ballet and opera.


A Japanese Starbucks designed by Kengo Kuma.

Part 4

Including Arthur Rubinfeld, the chief creative officer at Starbucks, who’s rethinking the chain’s retail experience, and Todd Simmons, executive creative director at Wolff Olins, one of today’s boldest branding and innovation firms.

The Little Printer, by Berg, whose founders are in the Co.D 50.


Part 5

Including Wang Shi, one of China’s new self-made billionaires who has also become its biggest patron for contemporary architecture, and Iris Van Herpen, who some have labeled the Alexander McQueen of the 21st century.

About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.