25 best designs of 2004
December 12, 2004 1:23 PM   Subscribe

Your distinguished panel chooses Fortune Magazine's 25 best product designs of 2004.
posted by mr_crash_davis (19 comments total)
I love this one just for its cheesiness.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:30 PM on December 12, 2004

I love MeFi.

We hate counter culture, culture jamming because we know that it's just another marketing angle.

So, let's wallow in it by highlighting some prime examples of the phenomenon. They're just plates, made from bamboo targeted at people who care that "a manufacturer incorporates sustainable materials." I love it.

All within an hour of each other.

It's what keeps me coming back
posted by C.Batt at 1:40 PM on December 12, 2004

I wish the fortune interface had all 25 next to each other. I had to jump through quite a few hoops to see them all.

I'm curious if all the things awarded were actually useful. I've heard reviews of the Oakley mp3 sunglasses say they're goofy, too heavy, and only hold 128Mb of music, which is terrible for the price, but here they're getting an award. Did the panel actually use the products?
posted by mathowie at 1:49 PM on December 12, 2004

The glasses do indeed look stupid and, at least from the description provided, lack bang for buck. It also seems silly should you ever desire to listen to music in a situation where you would not be wearing sunglasses. "Gee whiz" factor over actual appeal. Too bad - most of the other products here (esp. the collapsible Tupperware) actually look interesting.

OTOH, I guarantee that the retro-hungry hipsters of Tomorrowland, twenty years hence, will eat them up like candy.

(Oh, and it's funny how the list itself is sort of poorly designed.)
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:06 PM on December 12, 2004

An engineering marvel, the new iMac tucks the computer and speakers inside the expansive flat-panel display—"an advance as welcome as the day that VCR/DVD players were encased in the TV monitor box," says Thompson.

Indeed. Begs the question why they included the new iMac at all.
posted by Krrrlson at 2:19 PM on December 12, 2004

Egg Bird Feeder

Wakefield calls it "a great example of how ordinary objects can be elevated by design."
Designer: Jim Schatz for J. Schatz Inc. Price: $125

posted by Aknaton at 2:41 PM on December 12, 2004

Aside from the folding Tupperware (which is a phenomenal idea, if the plastic doesn't wear out from the repeated deformations), these all seem like silly, overpriced bits of tat to me. Do people actually buy this junk?
posted by uncleozzy at 2:44 PM on December 12, 2004

Fortune is getting to be like Wired, a catalog with articles to make you think the printed material has deeper meaning.

With that snobbishness out of the way, my favourite has to be the bicycle. That would be incredibly useful to me.
posted by Captaintripps at 2:46 PM on December 12, 2004

I don't care what anybody says. The Mirror TV is not a marketing angle; it's brilliant.
posted by drpynchon at 2:46 PM on December 12, 2004

And at $4,200, it's worth it!
posted by Captaintripps at 2:53 PM on December 12, 2004

I'm with uncleozzy--lots of stuff on the list is one or two steps up from being SkyMall fodder (and the inane comments from the panel don't help).
posted by kenko at 2:58 PM on December 12, 2004

I remember seeing commercials for collapsible food storage containers back in the early 80s. Tupperware fails to impress me at this time.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:05 PM on December 12, 2004

drpychon: I second that, the mirror tv is an excellent idea and a fine implementation too I guess.

On a tangent, nice shameless FPA (where A stands for advertisement). On a parallel tangent, watch out electronics are massively overpriced on Fortune..thanks to the fact electronics manufacturers have to pay to enter 25 best of.
posted by elpapacito at 3:10 PM on December 12, 2004

Man, if this stuff sells, we should get in on it.
1. Design some crap
2. ??? ---- Inflate prices
3. Profit!
posted by graventy at 3:32 PM on December 12, 2004

I remember seeing commercials for collapsible food storage containers back in the early 80s. Tupperware fails to impress me at this time.

The collapseable Tupperware was formerly known as "Popeet" or something and was infomercial fodder in the late 80's, anyway. I don't remember it in the early 80's, but I grew up in Maine where it takes a while to hear about life-altering technology like accordion food storage.

(Can someone with more patience please google "popeet" or "popeat"?)
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:05 PM on December 12, 2004

found that shit!
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:07 PM on December 12, 2004

Man, now I hate that Nokia cell phone after hearing how it shifts the paradigm.
posted by drezdn at 4:44 PM on December 12, 2004

I recall that the Popeet containers were constructed like accordians. while the Tupperware Flatouts with the sloped sdes appear to fold down more flat and stable. That said, is this the culmination of two decades of packaging technology advancement?

Nothing on this list has landed on my personal wishlist (and about two-thirds of them are laughable), but then, I'm not so much counter-consumer-culture as consumer-cultureless.
posted by wendell at 6:34 PM on December 12, 2004

54, 57; by any name it's complete bunk.
posted by Captaintripps at 7:54 PM on December 12, 2004

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