Every year, Fast Company puts out a “Masters of Design” issue, dedicated to spotlighting designers and design thinkers who are shaping the world around us. This year, the issue is a bit more ambitious. We tackled a theme: The current state of American design.
To lead off the issue, design columnist Linda Tischler has penned a thoroughly reported essay on the state of design in America. The gist of Linda’s story is that designers, after all these years, are still waiting for a seat at the corporate table. But many, such as Scott Wilson, the creator of the Lunatik iPod Nano wristband which set records at Kickstarter, aren’t just hanging around. Instead, they’re crafting new business models and are going directly to the customer. It’s a distinctly American tale of disruption and renewal, and you’ll have to read the piece to enjoy all the fascinating complications and details along the way.
Co.Design and its editors are also debuting a new marker in the current state of design: The Co.Design 50, which this year lays out the 50 most influential designers in America. It is absolutely not a list of the “best” designers in America (though some of them in are that, too). Instead, the idea was to call out people whose ideas and work have outsized impact on the work of others. The list ranges from graphic design to fashion design, from Nicholas Felton to Kelly Wearstler.
And there are, of course, our short profiles of the new Masters of Design, which includes, for example, Aza Raskin, the former Mozilla creative lead who is now trying to address our health care nightmare, and Teddy Cruz, a visionary who studies the U.S./Mexico border in hopes of finding new models for urban development.
There is plenty more to inspire and intrigue you in the issue–and even a free iPad app, which collects 76 of the best American-made products.