/15|Designing the 00s
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. A look back at the last ten years in the design world reveals 14 moments where design changed the way we interacted with technology, culture, sustainability, and ourselves.
/15|2000: Democracy With Transparency
After a too-close 2000 Presidential election is blamed on poorly-designed ballots, an initiative from AIGA named Design for Democracy creates nationwide information-design standards that makes voting clearer and more understandable. Later in the decade, the AIGA pledges to redesign mortgage agreements and credit card contracts as well.
/15|2001: Smaller Is Better
The Mini Cooper is introduced in the U.S. with a series of effective ads by Crispin Porter + Bogusky that bash SUVs. The first mass-produced hybrid, the Toyota Prius, also hits American soil, where it's embraced by celebrities. The cultural tide begins to turn consumer preference towards smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
/15|2001: iPod, You Pod, We All Pod
Apple releases its first-generation iPod. Steve Jobs' return to the company marks a new era of innovation. Music, television, films, and communication all become revolutionized by Apple products, as do the looks of other gadgets, which begin to assume a white, minimalist sheen.
/15|2002: Midcentury Modern Renaissance
Design Within Reach opens its first retail store, introducing a new generation of shelter-crazed design freaks to midcentury modern design artifacts like the Eames Lounge Chair. Modern designers such as Alexander Girard and Richard Neutra enter the vernacular and crop up in the pages of Dwell and in products licensed by House Industries.
/15|2002: Touchy Interfaces
The Precrime interface, demonstrated by Tom Cruise in the Steven Spielberg film Minority Report, helps to make the gestural, multi-touch interface technology real. Firms like Schematic (Accenture) and Perceptive Pixel (CNN's "magic screen") go on to create real-life interfaces that behave much like the fictional one.
/15|2003: Funny, Functional Furniture
The Dutch design collective Droog begins producing and selling some of its sustainable-with-a-twist products in an Amsterdam storefront. Furniture designers buck the ultra high-end luxury trend to follow Droog's witty yet responsible example, with products like the adjustable-for-age Droog Highchair by Maartje Steenkamp.
/15|2005: Etsy's Handmade Tale
The online community Etsy.com launches as a new movement of makers bring their handmade twee aesthetic to everything from fashion to architecture, supposedly as backlash to an over-technologied culture. The Web site connects crafters around the world to a thriving market and, more importantly, to each other.
/15|2005: Design For All
Billed as part of its Design For All campaign that invites big-name designers like Isaac Mizrahi and Tord Boontje to create mass-produced lines for its stores, Target debuts the Clear Rx pharmacy bottle. The concept by Deborah Adler was designed to make medicine bottles safer and universally accessible.
/15|2006: Data-Viz Whiz Kids
The online artwork We Feel Fine is debuted by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, creating an interactive experience using information collected from three years' worth of blog posts. A surge of data visualization projects combine real-time data and mapping and launch a renaissance for the art of the infographic.
/15|2006: Wii Love It
Nintendo launches the Wii console, bringing tennis and bowling to living rooms around the world. But more importantly, the couch potato/geeked-out stereotype of gamers is blasted as video game designers create games that encompass a variety of interactive experiences (even legitimate exercise!) for every age bracket.
/15|2007: Logo Revolts
The London 2012 Olympics logo unveiled by Wolff Olins meets with an unprecedented level of backlash, as bloggers, designers, London leaders and over 50,000 citizens sign a petition against it. The logo stays, but it paves the way for consumers to bash a future Tropicana redesign until it gets recalled.
/15|2007: Serving the Underserved
The exhibition Design for the Other 90% at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum brings the design-for-good movement to the forefront with products like the Lifestraw, a water purification device made for the one sixth of the world's population without access to clean water.
/15|2008: Presidential Propaganda
Shepard Fairey creates a series of campaign posters for Barack Obama's presidential run that quickly become the most ubiquitous imagery of the election and possibly the most effective branding and marketing campaign ever. The Associated Press sues Fairey, claiming the photo he referenced was stolen.
/15|2009: Architecture's New Heights
The Burj Dubai, a 2,684-foot skyscraper designed by Adrian Smith in Dubai, becomes the tallest structure on the planet, shadowing half-finished starchitect-headed projects in a city slipping into financial decline. Dubai becomes the symbol of a global building frenzy, an unbridled era of development, but one that often embraced environmentally-responsible building practices.