We are constantly surrounded by the work of designers. From the way our favorite mugs fit in our hands to the way our phones are shaped, design is everywhere. However, sometimes, designers take an extra step to make their work even more fascinating. These are the most brilliant designs people have ever encountered.
“Oklahoma Manhole Covers have a city map on it with a white dot showing where in the city you are.”
Manhole covers have to be there whether the general population notices them or not. Thanks to this brilliant idea, people in Oklahoma City now have a reason to look at the ground. Instead of being an eye-sore, manhole covers are now useful maps that help people locate themselves around the city.
“My car has a physical volume adjustment knob ON its touchscreen.”
It’s all about the little things. There is nothing more exciting than hearing your favorite song come on the radio and turning up the volume as high as you can. Without a physical knob, turning the volume up just isn’t the same thing. We’re glad some car manufacturers understand this.
“I got this hot sauce variety pack that looks very explosive.”
Sometimes, the hot sauce we see on the supermarket shelf doesn’t look as spicy as it should. So this company made sure people knew they meant it when they said their hot sauce was fiery. This shows that they know exactly how to distinguish themselves from the competition.
“The Canadian passport comes to life when held under a UV light.”
This is gorgeous. All Canadian passports issued since 2013 have cool hidden images that can only be revealed under UV light. This is actually a security measure, along with a biometric chip, to keep passports from being duplicated or forged.
“The edge of the knife in this Swiss restaurant was shaped to show off many of the peaks found in the Swiss Alps.”
How cool is this knife?! This restaurant takes every single detail extremely seriously. Instead of just using regular knives, this establishment went out of its way to make sure it had the most fascinating items to entertain its customers during their meal.
“This street in my city looks like it is carpeted.”
This is absolutely stunning. A street in the city of Mardin, Turkey, was constructed using colorful stones to make it look like a huge rug. We are sure the population of Mardin loves walking around on their gorgeous carpeted street and feeling like they are taking a stroll on Aladdin’s magic carpet.
“This elevator shows how close to capacity it is based on the weight of the riders.”
This elevator is great for people who are not good at math. Instead of telling riders its capacity in pounds or kilos, it shows them how much more weight it can handle. This way, no one needs to calculate the weight of everyone inside the elevator. Easy and practical.
“My college made a water bottle with a map of the campus on it. It also shows places where you can fill it up.”
This should be a mandatory gift for every freshman at every university. Not only does it encourage people to stay hydrated, but it also helps them locate themselves on campus. We particularly love the fact that it shows where water fountains are located – what a nice extra touch!
“This chess set from 1972 has the valid moves for each piece stamped on their bases, making the game much easier for beginners to learn.”
Trying to learn chess can be very discouraging. Each piece has so many possible moves that it requires hours of studying and memorizing before one can even start playing. This chess set with a cheat sheet on the bottom of each piece helps beginners learn while they play.
“This skatepark in France glows in the dark.”
Back in 2008, designer Koo Jeong A built a glow-in-the-dark skatepark in Vassivière Island in France. The concrete structure is a fully functioning skatepark that glows in the dark to allow skaters to practice even when there’s no light outside.
“The drain is right under the soap dispenser so it doesn’t stain the sink.”
Which came first: the soap dispenser or the drain? Either way, the idea of aligning both elements to avoid staining the sink is just so smart. This is the kind of detail that not many people notice or consider, but that can save people lots of time when cleaning their bathrooms.
“This Nescafe drink lid has a built-in smartphone holder.”
Just because we want to drink our coffee on the go, it doesn’t mean we don’t want to be entertained while we do it. Nescafé designed their coffee cup lid to double as a smartphone stand so that people can watch their favorite show on their phone while enjoying a tasty cup of joe.
“This airport has a dog bathroom.”
The Austin-Bergstrom Airport in Texas knows that not all passengers need toilets. That is, some fluffier passengers need fire hydrants and fake grass. We are sure everyone who travels with their pets appreciates this brilliant idea.
“This hand cream has dotted rubber edges on its lid so that you can open and close easily with creamy hands.”
Sometimes, the smallest details are the ones that make all the difference. Sure, the most important thing when it comes to hand cream is the quality of the moisturizer. But we can all agree that the second most important thing is being able to open its lid and use the product.
“The pictures in this pub go around corners.”
This idea is extremely clever and creative. This restaurant wanted to make sure their pictures would all fit on the wall, but they did not have room for all of them. Instead of using smaller frames, they found ones that go around the corners of the wall.
“The gum I bought in Japan comes with a stack of paper for easy disposal.”
This gum brand knows exactly what its customers need. There is nothing more uncomfortable than wanting to get rid of a piece of gum and not finding a trash can for it. With these tiny papers, you can wrap your chewing gum and dispose of it later when you find a bin for it.
“The inside of this ramen bar looks like it’s outside.”
There are many reasons why building an inside-outside space is a brilliant idea. But the main one is the fact that it makes the restaurant weatherproof. It doesn’t matter if it’s cold, raining, or even snowing outside – you’ll be warm and comfortable inside.
“There is a bicycle lift in Norway to help cyclists go up a hill.”
While this looks like a modern idea, the Trampe Bicycle Lift has actually been in use since 1993. It was invented and installed by Norwegian designer Jarle Wanwik, and upgraded in 2013. This bike elevator is used by commuting inhabitants of Trondheim and tourists.
“My fitted bed sheet tells me which side goes where.”
Few things in life are more enraging than trying to make your bed and realizing the fitted sheets are placed in the wrong direction. This bed sheet has labels on each side to let you know where they are meant to go. We wish all fitted sheets had this practical feature.
“My water cooler has a built-in pet water bowl.”
Pet owners know the daily struggle of constantly checking if your cat or dog has enough water in their bowl. This brilliant water cooler allows them to just pour some water for their pets every time they get a glass of water for themselves. This way, they won’t forget to give water to their pets ever again.
“Old European houses have a shoe scraper by the door so that you can clean the mud off your soles before entering.”
This is so much more practical than a doormat. Instead of scraping your dirty shoes on a mat and leaving stains on it, you can just scrape them on this metal bar. These boot scrapers were installed in most houses during the mid to late Victorian period but unfortunately are not common anymore.
“These bollards outside a school are shaped like pencils.”
This school thinks of every single detail. They could have easily just left their bollards gray and boring; after all, they would still serve their purpose even if they looked bad. Instead, the school got creative and made the bollards not only useful but also fun. We are sure the students loved them.
“This bike path in Denmark has a tilted trashcan which allows cyclists to throw out rubbish without slowing down.”
Sometimes, you have to think outside the box. To make it easier for cyclists to throw their trash into the bin, Denmark realized they could tilt their trashcans. This is such a small detail that most countries have never even thought about – and that’s what makes these trashcans so special!
“This hotel descends down the side of a cliff, so the elevator floors are negative numbers.”
Such a cool idea. Instead of using a confusing system where you enter the building on the eighth floor and take the elevator down to the first floor, they decided to make their own set of rules. The top of the hill is the first floor, and the floor on the bottom of the hill is -6.
“Fake Xbox or PlayStation for size at IKEA.”
Want to buy a media storage unit but don’t know if your video game is going to fit? No problem, IKEA is one step ahead of you. There are fake Xbox and PlayStation consoles you can use to figure out if your video game would fit in the units.
“In Denmark, some of our light signals are small Vikings.”
This is such a nice way to keep history alive. Vikings lived in Scandinavia between the late 8th century and the late 11th century, just because they are gone from Denmark, Norway and Sweden it doesn’t mean they should be erased from everyone’s memories.
“The seasoning jars that my mother sent me are magnetic.”
This is a great idea for people who don’t have a lot of storage space. There are so many products we have to find room for in our kitchen, which could end up making the room feel cluttered. It’s nice to know that some companies have figured out how to keep their products visible and handy, but at the same time, out of the way.
“This alarm clock has a face on the side so you can see it from the bed without turning it.”
Such a clever, minimalist idea. We all know how annoying it is when we wake up at a hotel and need to reach for the alarm to look at the time. This alarm clock has the solution for this problem, though. Thanks to the screens on its side, the time can be seen from every angle.
“Pictures of my friend’s shirt without and with camera flash.”
This is such a cool concept. This person’s shirt is basically made for being photographed. The pattern on the fabric is barely noticeable when there isn’t a strong light shining in front of it, but pops out when a camera flash is turned on. Fascinating.
“This gate stops cars from driving through it, but not horses.”
This is such a great and useful idea. This gate stops strangers from driving into someone’s land without keeping people’s horses from walking around freely. It’s basically the opposite of a cattle guard, which allows cars to drive past but not animals.
“My measuring cups visually depict the fractions they represent.”
This might be the coolest cooking utensil we have ever seen. Normally, when we need to measure an ingredient, we have to read the fractions to find the right cup to use. With these measuring cups, though, all we’d have to do is quickly glance at them and we’d know which one we need.
“The pills that help regulate my heart rate are shaped like hearts.”
This is the kind of small detail that not everyone notices at first. But whenever it is noticed, most people would agree it makes all the difference. The shape not only looks cute but also helps people who take many different pills a day recognize which medication this is.
“I bought a sweet potato that had a hot stamp instead of a sticker.”
Such a simple, yet great idea. Instead of wasting lots of plastic on tiny stickers that will quickly end up in the trash, this company decided to stamp their vegetables. This is also great for customers who hate having to look for stickers on every single one of their veggies.
“Saw a special swing for wheelchair-bound children.”
Swings for wheelchair-bound kids should be everywhere. We absolutely love this idea and wish we could see it in every playground across the world. It’s also great that the park provides instructions on how to use it – which makes sure the swing is used properly and kids will not get hurt while playing.
“This airplane sleeping mask has different sides depending on if you want the flight attendant to wake you up for meals or not.”
Sometimes, all it takes to create a genius product is thinking outside the box. Being woken up on a flight when the food is coming is a slight annoyance that we would love to avoid whenever possible. With this mask, if passengers don’t want to eat, they will be respectfully left alone.
“This jar of mustard has a handle on it so you can reuse it as a cup later.”
Let’s face it. We have all kept a condiment jar at some point to use as a drinking glass. Whether it’s because it had a cool shape or because we didn’t have enough real glasses, the point is that these containers do the job perfectly. We are glad this mustard company has embraced this fact and even given their jars a little handle.
“This sports store has a mini obstacle course so you can test your hiking shoes.”
Buying shoes always feels a little bit risky. Especially those that we want to wear for exercising. When trying them on at the store, we can never know how they will feel while we walk, run, or hike… This is why this mini obstacle course is a great way to help customers truly feel the shoes they want to buy.
“My Chinese food came with a chopstick/fork combo.”
Instead of sending customers a pair of chopsticks and disposable cutlery every time they order food, this restaurant uses a much better method. This fork/chopstick combo ensures all customers will have their preferred eating utensil with their meal and cuts down on plastic waste.
“Charlotte airport has rocking chairs.”
Waiting by the gate before boarding your flight can sometimes take forever. Passengers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport can at least enjoy their rocking chairs while they’re there. There are more than 100 of those chairs located across the CLT terminal at the Charlottean airport.
“My university installed a solar-powered charging station so the students can charge their phones.”
Looking for an outlet to plug your phone in the campus can sometimes be a very difficult task. You might even find a socket, but it probably will not be located near a seat. This university made sure students knew they could use this solar-powered charger while catching some vitamin D and hanging out with their friends.
“This supermarket has a map of the store on its shopping carts.”
Sometimes, a quick run to the grocery store can end up taking hours. Some stores are just so big that we can never find what we need, so we just keep walking around. To solve this issue and help out their customers, this supermarket added a store map to their shopping carts.
“My new toothbrush has replaceable bristles so you don’t have to keep buying a new handle.”
Although electric toothbrushes have had removable bristles for years, regular toothbrushes are usually sold as a whole. This means that every time we need new bristles we end up also throwing away a perfectly fine handle.
“My bike seat is also a bike pump.”
A bike seat that is also a pump?! This is what we call practicality. This means anyone who has this bike will never have to worry about not having a pump around when they need one. We think this bike seat-pump combo should be available for sale everywhere.
“The orientation of these two outlets is offset by 90 degrees so that more charging ports can fit at once.”
This electrician thought about everything when they installed these outlets. Instead of keeping all plugs at the same angle, they rotated them so that more plugs can be connected at the same time. Such a small detail, but we are sure it makes all the difference.
“This building has optional Beast Mode stairs.”
If you have ever been in a situation where slow people would not move while you tried to use the stairs, these “beast mode” steps were made for you. These two options will keep slow climbers to the right and fast climbers to the left. Brilliant and effective.
“This frozen pizza has instructions on the wrapper in case you throw away the box.”
We wish more food manufacturers would do this. For some reason, whenever we open food packaging, we instantly throw it away. Then, minutes later, we realize we needed it to figure out how to cook whatever we bought. With instructions on the wrapper, this would no longer be an issue.
“This raincoat reveals a floral pattern when wet.”
This raincoat might look like a regular blue-colored article of clothing. It looks like it is made of a solid-color fabric with no pattern. However, once it gets wet with rain, it reveals a beautiful floral pattern that is activated with water. The pattern also helps you figure out if your raincoat is still wet or if it can be put back in your closet.
“My friend’s ceiling fan has very intuitive switches.”
Pulling ceiling fan strings can be a little annoying sometimes. There’s no way you can know which one turns on the fan and which one turns on the light. These small icons easily let you know which string is which and save you from having to figure that out on your own.
“My shirt has a cloth for cleaning glasses sewn onto it.”
Glass-wearers all know the struggle of constantly looking for a suitable cloth for a quick wipe. This shirt ensures you will always have a cloth to clean your glasses on you. As long as you wash it, you will never have to remember to bring glass cloths with you wherever you go.
“The world headquarters for Furnitureland South, near High Point NC.”
If you have ever wondered what the entrance to a furniture store ideally should look like, here’s your answer. Opened in 1969, Furnitureland South is a multi-million dollar company and the largest retail furniture store in the U.S. If anyone should have a dresser as their front door, it’s this store.
“How to keep your cat away from the keyboard.”
Such an ingenious idea. For some reason, cats love sitting on our keyboards when we are trying to work. This see-through stand keeps your furry friends away from your hands so you can type freely without having to push them away every few seconds.
“My new doormat reminds me of all the daily basics before I leave the house.”
Whenever we leave our house in the morning, we try to go over our mental checklist: phone, keys, wallet, lights, oven. Most times, we remember everything. Other times, we forget our phone charger on the bedside table or our wallet on the couch. If we had this doormat, we would never forget any of these basic things ever again.
“This New Balance x Big League Chew sneaker display is the epitome of creative design.”
This is such a cool concept. Combining the bubblegum and the sneaker themes, this designer came up with the idea of making a gum-like shoe stand. We absolutely love the idea and wish we could have half as much creativity as the person who made this.
“Our gas company sent a scratch and sniff in case you don’t know what a gas leak smells like.”
This gas company is so clever. Sometimes, “scratch and sniffs” do not have nice smells. Unlike those stickers we used to collect in school, this one smells like gas. It might sound bad, but we are sure this idea has the potential to save a lot of lives.
“My orange juice mix explains the benefits of each nutrient it has.”
Looking at an ingredient list, we usually can’t tell which nutrients our food offers. That’s why this ready-mix flavoured drink has it all on the packaging. It tells you which nutrients it has and which benefits each one of them offers.
“This titanium-coated butter knife with internal copper alloy heat tubes. It’s made to heat up when held in your hand, so that it is easier to spread butter.”
There is nothing better than a warm toast evenly covered in butter. The problem is that spreading cold butter on toast is a lot harder than it should be. We always end up with slices of toast that are heavily buttered in some areas and plain in other spots. This butter knife might be the solution to all our breakfast problems.
“I just found out about this chair for people who love to sit cross-legged.”
This might not be a good chair for everyone. If you are someone who needs a backrest, you might prefer a regular office chair. But if you enjoy sitting cross-legged, your eyes are probably lighting up right now. This is a great solution for anyone who doesn’t enjoy sitting up straight all day.
“Hardware packaged by assembly step, not by type.”
This is such a brilliant idea. It makes so much more sense to organize hardware by step than by type. Whoever thought of this concept should get a raise. This packaging will help people save so much time when putting up furniture!
“There’s an extra USB port included in my laptop’s power converter.”
The person who came up with this idea has definitely struggled with not having enough USB ports to charge all their devices. While this is not an essential feature in a power converter, it can totally come in handy when you suddenly remember there’s one more device you need to charge.
“This clock at my grandparents’ house is backward so it faces the right way in the mirror while you’re getting ready.”
Whoever came up with this mirrored clock idea is living in the 22nd century. While it is only a very slight inconvenience, having to turn around when you want to look at the clock is not ideal. We believe this inventor must have gotten very tired of turning around while getting ready in front of the mirror every morning…