What is your favourite piece of design from 2009?

The best thing I’ve seen this year is a food-labelling system in Japan by To Genko. The white food labels are printed to detect ammonia and darken when meat goes off. This means that a dark blue label equals ‘off meat’, but the really clever bit is that the barcode is also nullified so it can’t be sold. Genius. And genuinely useful.
Michael Johnson, Design director, Johnson Banks


This year Sufjan Stevens released The BQE CD box set, featuring the soundtrack to a
documentary he directed about New York City’s infamous Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Like his lovingly assembled 2006 Christmas box set, this is even more ambitious, with a Super 8 documentary DVD, comic book and View Master reel all included. It’s the most original design I saw: witty, idiosyncratic, charming and original. The look is so undesigned, yet so rich in varied elements and use of media that you just want to eat it. I can’t think of many who come any closer to the complete creative package. Stevens is a true inspiration.
Marksteen Adamson, Founding partner, Arthur Steen Horne Adamson

The redesign of the hospital commode is a prime example of outstanding design: it restores some dignity to the patient, hands back valuable time to nurses and reduces the transfer of superbugs. The NHS deserves a pat on the back for embracing design-led innovation, and while the Design Council has been helping in its development, it’s the individual designers who deserve the plaudits. Well done, Luke [Pearson] and Tom [Lloyd] from Pearson Lloyd. Two modern-day design heroes.
David Kester, Chief executive, Design Council


The Newspaper Club hasn’t even officially launched yet, but so far I’m really impressed. It’s as much about the quality of the design, as the ethos behind the venture – helping people create their own well-designed newspapers. They’ve done some great bespoke work this year. My favourite is Penguin’s preview of the latest Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy instalment, released last month. It stays true to the spirit of the series, is full of hidden messages and the text disintegrates halfway through. What better way to make people want to buy the book?
Paul Brazier, D&AD President

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