Brooks England has been making leather bicycle saddles for 127 years. This year, IDEO helped the company build a softer seat that doesn't need to be broken in. The Cambium C17 goes for $195, through Brooks.

The linear calendar simplifies the process of running a business by explaining the year in days, rather than months. Snag one and start planning for $35, here.

The all-white Lego edition comes with a book featuring six prestigious architecture firms to get budding architects started. The Lego Architecture set costs $149, here.

The Spotter, from Quirky, uses sensors to deliver customized alerts for the smart homes of the future. It might be the simplest "Internet of Things" product yet. Get connected here, for $50.

Iconic catalogs years of Apple's designs in lushly printed photographs. Goes for $75.

Get the reclaimed wood look, with the Stikwood sticker panels. Prices range from $200 to $500, from West Elm.

The impossibly silly Ostrich Pillow debuted for kids this year. Get a micro-version for $75, here.

Eden is a replacement backplate for the iPhone made out of wood. The kit costs about $120, here.

Scratch off destinations as you travel, with the Scratch Map. Get one for $20.

The prolific British designer Tom Dixon debuted an expansive new collection of furniture, lighting, and accessories this year. Take a look here.

Fourteen tiles recreate close-up scenes from Star Wars. Contact Tom Spina Designs for information about pricing.

These pencils, made out of multicolored layers of recycled paper, create miniature rainbows as you sharpen them. A pack costs $15. Would-be sharpeners should contact the makers to hear about the next round of production.

An Arduino, LED lights, motion detector, and other electrical inputs make this Cloud Lamp, by designer Richard Clarkson, an interactive storm for anyone's living room. Pricing upon request.

The Portland Press French press comes with a lifetime guarantee, thanks to its wool sleeve. Get one for $50.

Billed as the "Tesla of bicycles," Helios's smart handlebars connect to the user's iPhone. Handlebars start at $199, here.

The Co.Design Guide To Black Friday

Here are 16 of our favorite products from 2013. Go wrestle some grannies to get 'em.

If we had to pinpoint what we appreciate most in consumer goods, we'd say this: shortcuts. We're dazzled by them. We're talking about everything from environmentally conscious shortcuts (turning a used water bottle into a micro-humidifier) to money-saving shortcuts (stick-on panels that look like reclaimed wood) to recreational shortcuts (skipping the very literal pain-in-the-ass task of breaking in a leather bicycle seat, with a cleverly designed alternative). This has little to do with laziness; we just like to live efficiently. What follows is a guide to some of our favorite products from 2013. Call it a shortcut to the shortcuts.

Add New Comment

3 Comments

  • MajorDiarrhea

    Good list, although, I got a wood backed case from Carved, for $24. My faves from the list are the cloud lamp, rainbow pencils, press, and bars.

  • ben_marko

    The linear calendar isn't that innovative - in fact, I have seen white boards set up (as long as 15 years ago) that look almost exactly like Schwarting's linear calendar. A white board costs more, but it lasts a lot longer than a piece a laminated plastic. Plus white boards are a lot more durable, and a smarter choice for SMB. For something this simple in concept, anybody else can make do with a spreadsheet like Excel, Numbers, etc. to do this. Save yourself the money.

    Plus it is really small. I would go crazy having to read this on a wall.