Things I loved from 2012 (better late than never). / Jan 6th 2013

Kenneth Grange “Making Britain Modern” technically from 2011 but I only read it last year. Wonderful. Made me think that no matter how much we pour ourselves into web user centricity and product thinking we have a hell of a way to go before anyone even comes close to product designers like Grange. Also we need to think about design debt as well as technical debt as a price to pay for shipping fast. I can see no design debt in the things in this book.


Toca Train made me fall in love with playing with trains again. Brilliant. Well done TocaBoca and Björn and Emil. I would happily ask the boys if I could take a turn with this app. And any toy that includes virtual tea drinking as gameplay wins. Made me think we’ve make model railways too complicated. Hmmm.


Makie LabSuch a triumph. Very complex stuff, beautiful design and packaging, fantastic emotional connection between a “thing” and it’s owner. Perfect proof of the deeper resonance of items we commission over the mass produced. And I loved seeing Dan's and Paul's Makies be with them.


'Lympics was wonderful and made me so ashamed I’d been cynical. They had me at Nimrod and the Shipping Forecast. It made me want to personally be part of an industrial revolution and also to believe in anyone’s ability. Oh and that Heatherwick bloke did something incredible and told a story with metal and fire in his cauldron. 


The Government Digital Service Design Principles. I’m proud to have helped write the GDS Digital Principles but I’m in awe of these. They’re quite brilliant and Ben and the team should see them as one of the most important set of design rules published. I don’t want to sound too fanboyish but I think they’re on a level with Ram’s 10 rules. I also think they’re universally applicable to any startup, not just government.


Just outside the top 5, but definitely in the top 10:

Little Printer

This blog post from Dan Catt

Satellite Eyes

Stamen Watercolour Map tiles

Most of the things James did, especially the stuff around drones.

And of course the festive favourite of Radio Roundabout gets a special mention.

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