From mak­ers of potato plas­tic to code po­ets, we speak to the in­dus­try’s most no­table cre­atives

De­sign doesn't have to do all th­ese things all the time, of course. Some­times good de­sign is straight­for­wardly about craft, or sell­ing some­thing. But here we're cel­e­brat­ing the prac­ti­tion­ers whose work goes deep, looks stun­ning, and most of all, re­con­fig­ures what we thought pos­si­ble with image-mak­ing and the con­cepts be­hind it. Since we cast our net across the world and across dis­ci­plines, 15 game chang­ers was never go­ing to feel enough, but we're cer­tain our fi­nal se­lec­tion show­cases the breadth of bound­ary-push­ing de­sign­ers and projects around to­day.

Some — such as Zach Lieber­man — are work­ing at the cut­ting edge of new tech­nol­ogy and push­ing what we con­sider to be de­sign into whole new ter­ri­to­ries, such as writ­ing po­etry from code; or in the case of one young Swedish de­signer, break­ing new ground in sus­tain­able de­sign with pota­toes.

Oth­ers on the list are work­ing in more tra­di­tion­ally graphic de­sign ter­ri­to­ries but with con­cep­tual, for­mal and ide­o­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions of the likes we've never seen be­fore: Jonathan Cas­tro's colour­fully hyp­notic works look to trans­mute “soul” through two-di­men­sional im­ages and mo­tion graph­ics; while Laura Coombs sees pub­li­ca­tion de­sign as the cre­ation of a new real­ity and logic and a way of “craft­ing lan­guage into form”.

A few of th­ese names will be more than fa­mil­iar, but we felt de­served high­light­ing for their con­sis­tently su­perb out­put: Astrid Stavro, who was re­cently an­nounced as a new part­ner at Pen­ta­gram Lon­don; and For­est Young, Wolff Olins' global prin­ci­pal. Oth­ers are less so, but we reckon they'll be mak­ing waves for a long time yet.

If your eyes aren't al­ready turned on to th­ese cre­atives and the thor­oughly bril­liant out­put they pro­duce, make sure that changes: we reckon they'll be mak­ing some big waves in 2019 and be­yond.

To give them the mag­a­zine space that they de­serve, we've split our 15 game chang­ers fea­ture in to two. Turn the page to ex­plore the first eight cre­atives on the list, and to find out who the other seven are, make sure you pick up the next is­sue of Com­puter Arts on 1 Fe­bru­ary.

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