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Best of 2012: Print & Design

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We believe the best work in this category can often be the most powerful. A single image, well thought-out, can speak louder and resonate more deeply than some multi-platform monsters or massive film productions, as you'll see within our picks for best print/out of home/design of 2012.

Also, check out our picks for 2012's Best in TV/Video and 2012's Best of Integrated/Interactive.


#10 Apple iPad Mini Print Ads
TBWA Media Arts Lab

Apple's signature minimalist style lent itself well to these cleverly placed ads created by TBWA/Media Arts Lab. Appearing on the back covers of Time Magazine, The New Yorker and Marie Claire, the ads showcased the actual size of the adorable device in comparison to that of the magazine, to show just what reading on the Mini would feel like. (See full credits here).


#9 Girl With the Dragon Tattoo DVD Design
Sony Pictures

The DVD of David Fincher's adaption of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" bears no images or fancy typography. Instead, in a simple but clever marketing move, Sony Pictures designed the packaging to look like an everyday blank DVD, with the title carelessly written using what looks like a felt-tip pen.

The design, which makes the disc look a lot like like a home-burned, bootlegged copy, is a nod to Lisbeth Salander, the ultratalented hacker who is the movie's heroine. Along with this clever bit of packaging, the movie also featured some of the most striking opening titles we've seen in recent years. Designed by Blur Studio, the sequence was a mix of live animation, abstract imagery and visual metaphor, set to the haunting sound of Karen O and Trent Reznor's cover of "Immigrant Song."

#8 Coca-Cola Beatbox Building
Asif Khan and Pernilla Ohrstedt

Coca-Cola is famous for spreading happiness by way of its stunts and vending machines, but during the Olympics, the marketer raised the bar of merry-making with a building you could play. Designed by architects Asif Khan and Pernilla Ohrstedt the structure was part of Coke's "Move to the Beat" campaign, featuring an original anthem by Mark Ronson. The building is made up of more than 200 interlocking billboard size air cushions, each of which play various sounds like heartbeats, arrows striking targets or shoe squeaks. By touching the building, visitors create their own remix of the Ronson track. #7 Bloomberg Businessweek: It's Global Warming, Stupid

We were hard-pressed to pick one of Bloomberg Businessweek's many amazing covers this here, but this bold one, following Hurricane Sandy, was probably our favorite out of the magazine's continuing hits. The mag made no bones about the fact that it thought the hurricane was directly related to global warming, and if you -- like many media folks and politicians have been doing this past week -- think otherwise, you're stupid. As editor Josh Tyrangiel tweeted: "Our cover story this week may generate controversy, but only among the stupid." See the piece here. The mag's creative director, Richard Turley, was on this year's Creativity 50. See his favorite covers here.

#6 Benetton: Unhate
72&Sunny

Benetton went going for shock value in this controversial ad push, which showed major world leaders, including Barack Obama, Hu Jintao and Benjamin Netanyahu, kissing. "Unhate" won a Grand Prix in the Press category at Cannes 2012 -- and for sheer bold-faced audacity, came out a winner in our Best of 2012 countdown.

#5 Austria Solar: Solar Annual Report
Serviceplan Gruppe


How can an annual report be made interesting? Serviceplan Gruppe makes it happen with this Cannes Grand Prix-winning effort for client Austria Solar. The report is printed with a special ink, making it visible only in sunlight.

#4 Coca-Cola: CokeHands
Ogilvy China/Jonathan Mak


A gorgeous print ad from Coke and Ogilvy China freshened up the beverage giant's "Open Happiness" campaign. Designed by Jonathan Mak Long, the young Hong Kong student who shot to fame when he created a beautiful, widely shared viral tribute to Apple founder Steve Jobs. (He was also on this year's Creativity 50.) The ad shows two hands sharing a Coke, but is abstract enough to be considered just a lovely piece of design.

#3 Oreo: Daily Twist
DraftFCB NY

Oreo and DraftFCB NY celebrated Pride Week with this colorful rainbow cookie posted on the Kraft brand's Facebook page over the weekend. The cookie, which has creme of different colors instead of its standard white, is an addition to the brand's 100-year anniversary celebration print campaign, "The History Print," which reflected events using Oreo cookies and sometimes, a glass of milk.

This print was just the kickoff to a delightful 100-day campaign, the Daily Twist, where the black-and-white cookie was used mark major world events. You can see all of the designs here.


#2 Help Remedies "Help I Want to Save a Life

Help Remedies, the design minded OTC medical products company changed the way we think about well-being, with "Help, I Want to Save a Life." The product, conceived by Droga5 copywriter Graham Douglas, is a box of bandages that comes with a bone marrow donor kit. The idea being, you're already bleeding, so why not take advantage of it and help someone in need?


#1 Nike "Volt Shoe"

If you paid any attention at all to the Olympics this year, you saw them. No, not the greatest athletes in the world, but what they were wearing on their feet. Nike managed to catch our eyes with the Volt, the beautifully crafted, incandescent kicks that whizzed by on the feet of 400 Olympic athletes, including USA's Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee, Great Britain's Mo Farah and France's Renaud Lavillenie, enabling Nike to capture the Olympic gold in ambush marketing.

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