Now that the term "product design" has been hijacked to refer to those who create "digital experiences," we wanted to remember that plenty of folks still equate it with physical, low-tech objects. Here's some of the standouts that we spotted this year.
Japanese manufacturer Balmuda designed a desk lamp for sketching, based on design features found in no-glare surgeon's lamps.
No one's yet cracked the problem of the easy-to-carry bike helmet, so there's no incumbent form factor. This makes the area ripe for new approaches, and the Fend Folding Bike Helmet is the latest effort.
Down on the other end of the body, Marc Newson designed the Yard Boot 365 for Australian manufacturer R.M. Williams.
"The goal was to create something so minimal and quiet that it asks for your attention," said industrial designer Michael DiTullo, who designed Carpenter's handsome M18 Field Watch.
Craftsperson Karen Wang's gorgeous handmade resin gaming dice clocked $2.3 million on Kickstarter. A reminder that if you hone in on a large subculture--in this case, tabletop gaming enthusiasts--and offer them an attractive design variant they haven't seen before, you can move a lot of units.
If you spend a lot of time on airplanes, you'll want to check out this travel hoodie with a built-in, self-inflatable neck pillow.
Another notable watch design came from Jonathan Ward, whose Duesey Watch demonstrates why he's both a design geek and a stickler for details.
As a great example of continually evolving a design that was already winning, Oru Kayak designed a new super-compact model and clocked about $2 million in crowdfunding.
Lastly, another installment of "Japanese Over-Design FTW." Stationary supplies company Seed spent five years developing a transparent eraser, so you can actually see what you're erasing.