Some people think design is all pretty flourishes, but it’s about a lot more than that: design encompasses not just the visual appearance of a thing, but also the intent behind it, and the experience of being exposed to it. These qualities are what makes design such an important medium through which to thoughtfully explore our world, and that’s just what we tried to do in 2013 in many of our best essays examining the year’s most important design issues.
In the gallery above, you’ll find 15 of our favorite essays that we published this year. Written by staff, freelancers, and designers, these pieces go in-depth on the design that fascinated us this year.
To forewarn you, this list is a little Apple heavy. During a year in which Apple completely changed the look of its popular iOS operating system, it’s probably natural that we spent as much time talking about the Cupertino-based company as we did, but we also covered other issues in tech design, such as the dangers of gadgets that can see beneath our clothes and ultrasound machines that brand our unborn babies.
We also ranged farther afield. We helped expose design piracy, traced the history of one of the Internet’s most ubiquitous typographical symbols, published the last interview with cartooning legend Al Hirschfield, waxed poetic about the smells emanating from an old 80s action figure, and more.
It’s the perfect time to curl up by the fire with some of the best design writing we published this year.