The Most Influential Designs of the Past 10 Years


It happens every day, on our way to work or to have dinner at the new restaurant opening in town. It happens with every click, with every website we visit and every page we read. Design is, whether we are aware of it or not, an essential part of our daily lives. Very often do we see design influencing trends or setting the tone in fashion, as it acts as an umbrella for many domains of art. From the design of buildings we pass by every day, to designs that have changed the course of history, we tend to take it for granted.

For instance, we use Google on a daily basis, as everything is now accessible one-click-away on Google. Besides being just a browser, Google logo has left a significant mark on website design. Even though we are not necessarily aware of the impact that the Google logo has made on design, the ways in which Google is trying to draw attention to design are numerous. From the invention of Google doodle to the Google logo supporting different international personalities from art, science or sports, is a way to raise awareness and bring information even closer to us.

So, even if it is not an obvious process, design is not only meant to represent a brand’s identity or define a website content. Design is, as any other form of art, meant to express an idea, a trend or information, at a conceptual level. And because the contact with design is a purely visual one, this needs to be excellent to be remembered. Let’s take a look at the most influential designs of the past ten years.

As discussed earlier, design encompasses many areas of interest, such as graphic design, interior design, web design and so on. However, many of the most popular designs from the past decade have a story behind, created by the artist who conceptualized them.

Even if most designs seem rather simple, the emotional story behind them and the connection they have made with a wide public is astonishing and is proof once again that design is more than the visuals.

Some of the most influential designs of the past decade are:

5) Cigarettes packaging suggested in Australia in 2013 were a step forward in fighting the life-threatening consequences of smoking. The design consisted of using a generic pack, using unappealing colors and a message containing information about the bad consequences of smoking. By introducing a generic design which featured disgusting pictures, accompanied by colors which are generally known as not appealing for marketing, Australia managed to reduce cigarette consumption dramatically, proof that design can have a stronger impact than just the visual one.

4) iPhone design has made a notable contribution to the evolution of phones and tablets. During a time when everyone thought that size would be reduced more and more for both phones and tablets, iPhone launched phones with a minimal design and in bigger shapes than before. The trend created by iPhone design was picked up by other companies as well and preserved, as we can see in nowadays phone designs.

3) The Italian magazine Vogue was the first one to promote on the cover women of color, in 2008. Although it seems hard to believe that it took such a long time for this to happen, Vogue Italy design of the magazine managed to overcome myths, race issues, and numerous critics. Not only that, but the boldness of the magazine’s design has also successfully raised awareness regarding our perspective on racism, one of the important topics discussed worldwide.

2) The minimalist design of a computer board, called the Raspberry Pi, has brought forward a new approach to technology. Moreover, the design created in 2012 sold in millions of copies and made the generation of computing a lot more accessible to people.

1) Hope poster featuring Barack Obama remained a very powerful mark for the presidency and Obama’s image. The design was used all throughout his presidential campaign in 2008, and ever since then, it remained a symbol of hope, embodying one of the values of the modern American Dream.

All in all, even though design might tend to be overlooked, there is an artist sharing a story behind every design we see, be it one of a building we pass by or internationally famous designs. There is never too late to step back from the traditional approach of just looking at one design and then moving on, and to question what message the specific design is trying to convey.