2017 Beazley Design of The year. Yara Said, Refugee Nation - Photo by Francisco de Deus.

2017 Beazley Design of The year. Yara Said, Refugee Nation – Photo by Francisco de Deus. All images: courtesy of The London Design Museum.

2017 Beazley Designs of the YearLondon Design Museum announced the shortlist for the annual exhibition and awards celebrating the world’s best design. Archipanic selected 8 brilliant projects conveying a political message, raising awareness or aiming to tackle social issues.

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

ARCHITECTURE – by Adjaye Associates. Whashington DC, United States.

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Inaugurated by President Obama in 2016, the museum is the culmination of a decades-long struggle to recognise the importance of the black community in the social fabric of American life. The museum houses galleries, administrative spaces, theatre space and collections storage space and comprises a three-tiered structure covered in bronze plates. Designed to shade the glazed facades behind, the filigree cladding is patterned to reference the history of African American craftsmanship.

The Pussyhat project

FASHION – Krista Suh, Jayna Zweiman, Kat Coyle and Aurora Lady. United States.


The Pussyhat Project instigated a social justice craftivist movement by organizing women all around the world to knit and wear the now iconic pink pussyhat for the Women’s March on January 21, 2017. The project started with the aims to serve as a visual representation of unhappiness with the Trump residency. What started as a small project among friends at the Little Knittery in Atwater village has turned into a global affair meaning that women who are unable to attend the march can still show their support.

Finding Her

GRAPHICS – IC4DESIGN with DDB Dubai for UN Women Egypt


UN Women in Egypt teamed with Japanese illustrators IC4 Design and DDB Dubai to create Finding Her, a social-awareness campaign aiming to draw attention to the lack of women in Egyptian male-dominated industries: politics, science and technology.

Refugee Nation Flag

GRAPHICS – Yara Said with The Refugee Nation for Amnesty International

The flag for The Refugee Nation, a team of ten refugees competing in the Rio Olympics, draws its colour scheme and design from lifejackets. Designed by Syrian artist and refugee Yara Said, the flag is a vivid orange with a single black stripe. The flag serves to highlight the status of refugees as displaced persons, creating a sense of solidarity and awareness of the difficulties facing refugees.

Saydnaya: Inside a Syrian Torture Prison

DIGITAL – Forensic Architecture and Amnesty International.

Forensic Architecture - Saydnaya.

Researchers at Forensic Architecture agency and prison survivors worked together to reconstruct the architecture of the Syrian torture prison Saydnaya, a and their experiences within, using architectural and acoustic modelling. The prison model and the audio-visual documents resulting from it offer an intimate and chilling confrontation with the reality of Syrian prisons and detention facilities. The project is part of a wider campaign led by Amnesty International calling on the Syrian government to allow independent monitors into its detention centres and urging other key players to weigh in on the debate.

The Calais Builds Project

ARCHITECTURE – by Grainne Hassett. Calais, France.

calais builds

The Calais Builds Project captured the needs, culture and hopes of its residents. In 2016, architect Grainne Hassett along with students from the University of Limerick and local migrants designed and built a major community infrastructure, including a Women’s and Children’s Centre and the Baloo’s Youth Centre. These were demolished in 2016 by the French Government and its inhabitants displaced.

Avy Search and Rescue Drone

PRODUCT – Paul Vastert, David Wielemaker, Christian McCabe and Patrique Zaman.

Every year, thousands of refugees perished attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. The Avy Search and Rescue Drone is specifically designed to help refugee boats. The drone is capable of flying long distances, detecting vessels, and can drop life jackets, life buoys, food supplies, medication and communication devices.

Me & EU

GRAPHICS – Nathan Smith and Sam T Smith.

Me & EU - Collection Quarter.

Me & EU is a collection of postcards written and designed by UK-based creatives to be sent across Europe as a means to remain connected post EU-referendum. Set up in the wake of Brexit referendum, the project aimed to build on a sense of unity. The postcards were sent out across all 27 EU countries on the trigger date of Article 50.


Divided in six categories, all the shortlisted designs will be on display from 18 October 2017 to 28 January 2018. A winner will be selected in each category and one overall winner will be announced on 25 January 2018.

• All photos: courtesy of London Design Museum / Beazley Designs of the Year.