Our top stories of the year
At about this point in the calendar websites traditionally review the year gone by. We thought it would be interesting to share what have been the most popular stories of the past 12 months on the CR site
So, in descending order, these are the stories which have had the most page views on the CR website in the past 12 months:
This story from June tied in with the 125th anniversary of Coke. CR's Mark Sinclair talked to Coca-Cola archivist Ted Ryan about a book documenting the design and build of the brand's first neon sign for Piccadilly Circus, in 1954.
Stories on rebrands are always popular on the CR site, particularly if they involve a combination of both well-known brand and well-known designers. In January last year we posted a story about a new look for the Design Museum shop created by Spin which would replace an existing identity by Build. But it was the follow-up piece, in which we weighed up the merits of each, which proved really popular. One of the reasons for this was that all the protagonists were involved in the discussion, talking openly about the process and the decisions made, which resulted in a really interesting debate in the comments section. Ideally, we'd do more pieces like this but it is becoming increasingly difficult to get clients in particular to talk on the record about projects in anything more than the most general terms.
While some stories are popular because they are topical or because they stimulate debate, others simply rely on a novel visual approach, as in Eat Me, a book of food-related design projects from Victionary. The Hong Kong-based publisher's books are always beautifully-produced - this one was even designed to look like a layered wafer biscuit
As with the media generally, the 2012 Olympics dominated our coverage over the past 12 months. One of our most popular stories was this look back over the creative highlights of the Games, from Heatherwick's Cauldron to the use of Gareth Hague's typeface on the running track and those brilliant animated graphics courtesy of 70,500 Pixel Tablets installed next to the seats in the main stadium
11. I Am A Camera
Just outside the top ten came this student project. Luke Evans and Josh Lake, then first years at Kingston, swallowed capsules containing 35mm slide film. Once they had, er, retrieved the capsules, they recorded the marks made by their insides on the film using an electron microscope.
Another Olympics-related story is at number 10 in our list – our exclusive pre-launch tour of the way in which the look of the games had been implemented at the Olympic Park. While the graphic design elements of the games still split opinion, the rigour and imagination in their usage onsite prompted (sometimes reluctant) praise.
An odd one this, and proof that the most popular stories aren't always about the 'big' projects - a typographic chess set created by Jim Sutherland of Hat-Trick Design.
For Benga's new video for I Will Never Change, 960 separate pieces of vinyl were carefully measured, cut, and then finally animated, resulting in a real-life waveform. Commenters were anxious to tell us that it had all been done before and that this was definitely not the sort of story we should be writing about. And yet here it is in our top ten.
7. The £25 logo
In which design studio Mat Dolphin decided to test out online logo design services by commissioining an identity for their (fictitious) new plumbing company.
Another straightforward story: German ad agency Jung von Matt created a charming print campaign to advertise Lego in which some much-loved cartoon characters were created using the famous plastic blocks.
Gav's regular sleeve design round-ups are always popular but we were somewhat mystified as to why this one in particular took off. A peek at our analytics revealed that it was due to some especially enthusiastic social network sharing.
Ah, those loveable one-eyed phallic embodiments of the Olympic spirit - they certainly raised readers' hackles but many comments were surprisingly forgiving and understanding. Take this one from Ben the Illustrator "I've slept on it and woken up to a realisation... I'm 34! The mascots aren't aimed at me! They're for the kids". The comments were also enlivened by the presence of James Jarvis who had been on the shortlist for the project.
Not many design firms would create much noise with the announcement of a new partner, but not many design firms have at their head someone with the profile of Stefan Sagmeister and even fewer would make such an announcement in Sagmeister's inimitable style. In May, Jessica Walsh became a partner at the firm. The pair decided to make this public via a nude joint portrait that recalled a card Sagmesiter sent out when he originally opened his studio, 19 years before.
Nearly there: number two in our list is a story on the design of the Olympic tickets. It was all starting to come together, but many remained unconvinced.
The most viewed story on the CR website during 2012 was not even posted in 2012 at all. In fact, it was published in October 2009 but such was the interest in the 2012 Olympics, and in its pictograms in particular, that it remained our most viewed story all year. When people talk abut 'the long tail' in relation to web content, this is what they mean.
So, quite a mixed bag. Editing a magazine requires providing a combination of stories that you know people are going to want to read and those that you feel they ought to read. Nowhere is the difference made more starkly apparent than on the web where analytics allow us to see exactly how many hits each story gets. It's always disappointing when quite 'serious' stories which took a lot of time and effort to produce (such as Mark's piece on Occupy Design or Gav's in-depth analysis of the row over the Brother Printer ad) fail to garner anywhere near as much traffic as some of the more throwaway visual stories on new music videos or self-generated projects but such is the nature of publishing and of people in general. It's all about balancing the two. We'd like to wish all of our readers a happy new year and look forward to bring you more stories – both high and a little lower brow – over the coming months.
CR in Print
The January issue of Creative Review is all about the Money - well, almost. What do you earn? Is everyone else getting more? Do you charge enough for your work? How much would it cost to set up on your own? Is there a better way of getting paid? These and many more questions are addressed in January's CR.
But if money's not your thing, there's plenty more in the issue: interviews with photographer Alexander James, designer Mirko Borsche and Professor Neville Brody. Plus, Rick Poynor on Anarchy magazine, the influence of the atomic age on comic books, Paul Belford's art direction column, Daniel Benneworth-Gray's This Designer's Life column and Gordon Comstock on the collected memos, letters and assorted writings of legendary adman David Ogilvy.
Please note, CR now has a limited presence on the newsstand at WH Smith high street stores (although it can still be found in WH Smith travel branches at train stations and airports). If you cannot find a copy of CR in your town, your WH Smith store or a local independent newsagent can order it for you. You can search for your nearest stockist here. Alternatively, call us on 020 7970 4878 to buy a copy direct from us. Based outside the UK? Simply call +44(0)207 970 4878 to find your nearest stockist. Better yet, subscribe to CR for a year here and save yourself almost 30% on the printed magazine.
CR for the iPad
Read in-depth features and analysis plus exclusive iPad-only content in the Creative Review iPad App. Longer, more in-depth features than we run on the blog, portfolios of great, full-screen images and hi-res video. If the blog is about news, comment and debate, the iPad is about inspiration, viewing and reading. As well as providing exclusive, iPad-only content, the app will also update with new content throughout each month. Try a free sample issue here
Great list, but I think #1 is particularly suiting, not just for their featured pictograms, but for SomeOne's work all year round. 'Studio of the year' perhaps? Absolutely relentless bombardments of stunning, and hugely effective brand identify. Not a single miss. 2013 – year of the well earned hibernation!
Such a great year? Good luck to all the freelancers, start-ups and people working in new collaborative ways. http://www.openstudioclub.com
Pathetically spammy comment!
There is no doubt that year 2012 was quite an eventful year for each one of us in London. Hope 2013 brings loads of happy days for each one of us. Great compilation guys. I have enjoyed all throughout reading this post.
I absolutely loved London 2012 Olympics branding!
Great list. I agree it would be good to try and elevate the more intellectual articles here so that they resonate more widely.
I also agree with Fenton. SomeOne have had quite a year. I wonder how their difficult second album is coming along? Surely the most notable studio of the year though.
Bring on 2013. It's going to be quite a ride. No monster global sporting event. No Jubilee. It's going to be the year where Wimbledon hits it big!
Stefan is bold. Walsh looks good... as a partner 8)
For me the best of the London olympics design was the selection of the typography, which is very different look than ordinary type forms. Great collection of 2012 by the way, loved the 25 pounds logo post.
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