Image: Design Museum
Tomorrow, the Design Museum will announce the over-all winner of Design of the Year 2013 – a celebration of the past year's very best Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Product and Transport design.
The winner will be chosen from this shortlist of category winners:
Architecture: Tour Bois-Le-Prêtre, Paris / Designed by Frédéric Druot, Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal
Digital: gov.uk / Designed by Government Digital Service
Fashion: Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel / Directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland
Furniture: Medici chair / Designed by Konstantin Grcic for Mattiazzi
Graphics: Venice Architecture Biennale identity / Designed by John Morgan Studio
Product: Kit Yamoyo / Designed by ColaLife and PI Global
Transport: Morph folding wheel / Designed by Vitamins for Maddak Inc.
As a graphic designer, I obviously have a particular interest in the Graphics and Digital categories. John Morgan Studio's brand identity for the Venice Architecture Biennale is just my sort of thing; simple, elegant, well-executed and, once you've seen it, there could be no other solution. It's perfect. And James big-upped (bigged-up?) the government's new website not so long ago in this blog post – and it is a fantastic example of simple, thoughtful, useful design. But neither of these would be my Design of the Year.
Although I'm a fan of Heatherwick Studio's Olympic Cauldron which was longlisted in the Product category, my personal choice for Design of the Year is the one which took the cauldron out of the running – ColaLife's Kit Yamoyo.
Image: Simon Berry
An exceptionally deserving and clever category winner, each Kit Yamoyo contains single-dose packs of oral rehydration salts (diarrhoea is the second-biggest killer of under-5s in sub-Saharan Africa), and the wedge-shaped pods also double as measuring cups for adding the correct amount of water to dilute each sachet.
So, what's the link with cola? And why the weird shape? The pods are wedge-shaped to fit into the spaces between Coke bottles in crates, enabling them to be transported and distributed using Coca-Cola's extensive networks across the region. Ingenious!
The story of how the idea came about is a must-read and, as the ColaLife folks say, "It must be the first time that an anti-diarrhoea kit takes centre stage as a design icon."
Design for good at its very best.
(I'll update this post with the official winner once the announcement's been made.)
I stick by my personal choice of Kit Yamoyo, but the Government's new website was always James' pick; and there is something rather nice about a website winning this gong, I reckon. Especially as many of the GDS Team's (award-winning) design principles run through the work that we do – it's sound stuff!
If you want a closer look at the nominees, they're being exhibited at the Design Museum until 7th July. Although the winner can obviously be seen on an internet connection near you.