A foot-powered washer, designed by one of Mariana Amatullo’s students, and a finalist in our Innovation by Design Awards

At the 9/11 memorial, Jake Barton’s Local Projects designed an algorithm to place victims’ names near those of friends.

Jonathan Cedar and Alec Drummond’s company BioLite markets an ingenious camp stove that is a finalist in our Innovation by Design Awards

Much of Apple’s singular gloss comes from the team led by Alan Dye, who helps oversee branding.

Matali Crasset established a practice creating "scenarios for living": quirky spaces and objects, such as this woodland escape, that evolve with the user’s needs

50 Designers Shaping The Future: Part 1

The future is being designed. That is one funny idea. But that’s precisely what the 50 designers, educators, and exec­utives in this year’s Co.Design 50 are doing. The Co.Design editors have chosen a group of people who are pushing the boundaries of their discipline into promising new directions. They are experimenting with new ideas about business, sustainability, and usability. Some work with brands that are familiar today; others, we expect, will become household names in the future. Significantly, they’re all masterful collaborators. And what unites all of them is that their projects will affect not only how we live today but also what life might look like just a few years down the line. Click here for an infographic overview and here part 2, 3, 4, 5.

Josh Brewer
Principal designer, Twitter
Interactive design
Twitter has been serious about creating a design culture, and within the company, Brewer is a designated role model because he has skills that the entire Valley is chasing. He knows technology and he can code, but he also has design chops down to a type­face’s tiniest detail. In the next 10 years, his skill set will become the new standard.

Kate Aronowitz
Director of design, Facebook
Interactive design
Think of Aronowitz, a vet of LinkedIn and eBay, as a curator. Her chief re-sponsibility at Facebook has been to assemble one of the planet’s most remarkable teams of design talent. The big question: Can all that talent transform Facebook for the mobile age while keeping it vibrant, fun, and relevant to users?

Mariana Amatullo
Cofounder and vice president, Designmatters at Art Center College of Design
Educators and  curators
Many design schools put students on save-the-world projects from the safety of their own desks. But Amatullo values fieldwork, leading her flock on trips to Latin America. As a result, they’re among the best at creating realistic solutions for the developing world, such as this foot-powered washer.

Robert Andersen
Creative director, Square
Interactive design
CEO Jack Dorsey may be synonymous with Square. But if it succeeds as the smartphone era’s cash register, much praise will be due to Anderson, 23, who has played a part in creating everything from its logo to its pleasingly simple UI.

Jake Barton
Founder and principal, Local Projects
Interactive design
Architecture

Local Projects has made its name by fusing high-tech software and elegant display design. At the 9/11 memorial, the most moving detail came courtesy of Local Projects, which designed an algorithm to place victims’ names near those of associates and friends. Next: digital-media design for the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

Jonathan Cedar and Alec Drummond
Founders, BioLite
Executives and patrons
Product design

Cedar and Drummond are pioneering a fresh business model that seeks to benefit industrialized and developing countries at once. Their company, BioLite, markets an ingenious camp stove whose U.S. sales subsidize a low-cost version sold in Africa and elsewhere. With $1.8 million in seed capital, the model is one that NGOs are eagerly watching.

Photo by Michael O’Neal

Alan Dye
Creative director, Apple
Graphic design
Jonathan Ive has become synonymous with Apple’s design, but in truth, much of the company’s singular gloss comes from the team led by Alan Dye, who helps oversee branding. A celebrated graphic designer, he worked at Kate Spade and Ogilvy & Mather before landing in the Cupertino Borg ship.

Photo by Luca Frechin

Matali Crasset
Product design
Architecture
Interiors

Crasset’s designs are as offbeat as her mop-top hairdo. After five years of working with Philippe Starck, she established a practice creating "scenarios for living": quirky spaces and objects, such as this woodland escape, that evolve with the user’s needs—and our modern lives.

Krista Donaldson
CEO, D-Rev
Lecturer, Stanford d.school

Educators and curators
Executives and patrons

Many ingenious innovations for the developing world die out after the prototype. The problem is finding a company willing to translate good ideas into marketable products. Donaldson, an engineer and an Ideo alumna, leads D-Rev, a not-for-profit that’s doing just that, through inventions such as the low-cost ReMotion knee and Brilliance phototherapy device to fight jaundice.

The Innovation By Design Awards on October 16 will celebrate the controversial ideas, new products, business ventures, and wild ideas highlighted everyday on Co.Design. Award Winners in nine categories will be unveiled at the event. Register today.

A version of this article appears in the October 2012 issue of Fast Company.

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