The Most Creative People In Design, 2014

From our Most Creative People 2014 list, meet the people responsible for reshaping our world–shoes, cars, buildings, tech products, and more.

The Most Creative People In Design, 2014

Dropbox Design Team (No. 6)

The design team at Dropbox–namely Soleio Cuervo, Tim Van Damme, and Gentry Underwood–like to keep things simple. And it’s best that way: its members have made other simple things, such as the Facebook “Like” button and the widely adored Mailbox app, which shows there’s power in the pared-down.


Sean Rad and Justin Mateen (No. 12)

The online dating scene was turned into a fireball when Sean Rad and Justin Mateen dropped Tinder on the world. It’s remarkably simple interface hooked us, and now we just can’t stop swiping. The app now registers 10 million matches and 750 million swipes per day and has partnered with popular ­dating site OkCupid to improve its user experience.

James Carnes (No. 21)

Good design can evolve slowly. James Carnes is behind Adidas’s most successful products of late, and all of them were years in the making. Among them: the radically designed Springblade running shoe; the Boost, which utilizes the absorbent foam of car bumpers; and the ultra grippy Brazuca, the FIFA World Cup 2014 official ball. And they’re bringing in millions for the company.

Gorden Wagener (No. 34)

How to make the world’s best-selling car even better? For the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, designer Gorden Wagener focused on three things: scaling up by slimming down, underlining the details, and revving the performance.

Ma Yansong (No. 53)

For architect Ma Yansong, modern buildings don’t have to be intimidating to be powerful. His latest structure, the Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort, is a loop of lodging that rises out of Taiku Lake, replete with nearly 20,000 programable LEDs for reflective light shows. Now, he’s going global. Next stop, Beverly Hills.

Meredith Perry (No. 55)

“Hang on, why am I using this cord to charge my wireless laptop?” Meredith Perry asked herself. “It was 2011, and I didn’t understand how we could be using something so archaic.” From there, she set out to find an alternative, and she found it in sound waves. So far she’s raised $1.7 million in her effort to say goodbye to wall sockets.

Stacy O’Connor (No. 63)

Leading a team of creatives at Hot Wheels, Stacy O’Connor has time and again turned rubber bands and cardboard into victory laps for the company, most recently developing a track that sticks to walls and a pinball game played using cars.


Fred Gelli (No. 72)

Fred Gelli knows the most pristine design can be found in nature, and that’s what he used for his drop-shaped packaging for Sou, a line of hair- and skincare products. To further infuse nature into his business, he has a biologist among his ranks and even teaches a college course on biomimicry.

Kate Orff (No. 93)

For architect and park designer Kate Orff, nature is never simply in the background. Her current projects at Scape, including a project to filter runoff from creeks while providing a social space, actively work to integrate nature, rather than cordon it off.