By Creative Review


The Annual, in association with Arjowiggins Creative Papers, is Creative Review’s showcase of the outstanding projects of the year. All the selected work appears in a special double May issue of Creative Review.

This year’s Best in Books for Digital are:


Entrant/Studio: Made By Many

Cat no: DIG2.0019.

Chosen in Digital_Apps

Hackaball is the result of a delightfully simple brief: to make a connected product that children can both play and learn with.

Conceived by Made by Many and bringing together hardware, firmware, software and industrial design (the latter in partnership with Map Project Office), the beauty of Hackaball is that it can be thrown and kicked around, but also be programmed.

Designed for children aged seven and up, all manner of games can be developed with it via the Hackaball app which connects to the device via bluetooth. The ball then responds accordingly, via flashing LEDs, vibrations and noises. Housed in an ABS plastic case within a silicone rubber shell and shock-absorbing polypropylene outer, it is as tough as it is ingenious.

Funded via a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, the device is set to launch into the consumer market this spring. As a truly collaborative project, a large part of Hackaball’s appeal is that this notion of collaboration continues well into the sphere of play itself, inspiring the children who encounter it.

Hackaball for the iPad

SAM Labs 

Entrant/Studio: Map Project Office

Cat no: DIG8.0008.

Chosen in Digital_Interface Design

The idea behind SAM Labs’ ‘internet of things’ toolkits, which comprise a series of wireless blocks and an accompanying app, is that people with little or no coding skills can create connected devices. To ensure that the holistic nature of the product was conveyed through its look and feel, Map Project Office worked with SAM Labs to design a seamless blend of user experience, product and interface design, combining it with a charmingly-crafted modular packaging system.

Closing the gap between the physical and digital, the software offers an intuitive interface that recreates the modular blocks on screen – when the user ‘drags’, ‘drops’ and connects up the various icons, the physical blocks are coded together wirelessly. Each kit also contains a set of printed components to allow users to create their first projects using the modules supplied and some simple cardboard engineering.

The overall aim of Map’s involvement was to enhance the user experience – making it friendly and fun. The resultant visual design of the interface echoes the physical design of the hardware in a way that can only further the user’s understanding of this highly innovative product.

SAM labs ‘internet of things’ toolkit


Entrant/Agency: R/GA

Cat no: DIG2.0030.

Chosen as Best in Book in Digital_Apps but also selected in Product Design

As road safety devices go, Hammerhead is possibly one of the most unusual looking out there. In fact, R/GA researched the kind of tech that pilots use to land aircraft in order to design and build a handlebar-mounted navigation system for cyclists, with accompanying app.

With the ever-growing number of people using bikes for commuting and exercising, there’s an increased need to find safe cycling routes, but using a smartphone while on the move is notoriously dangerous. Hammerhead instead emits a series of patterned light signals, viewable in the rider’s peripheral vision, which indicate directional turns and distances until the next manoeuvre on any given route. Journeys are planned via the bluetooth-enabled app – taking hills, traffic and weather into account – and once the rider’s phone is safely stowed away, Hammerhead pairs with the app to display the route in a step-by-step sequence.

Cyclists can also preselect options for ‘shortest routes’ or ‘dirt trails’, for example, depending on the kind of riding they intend to do. Routes are then stored in Hammerhead’s evolving bike route database – the cumulative effect being, it is hoped, safer roads for everyone.

New App Screens Cannes 3Screenshots from the Hammerhead app

Click here to find out who judged the Creative Review Annual 2016

The May 2016 issue of Creative Review, featuring The Annual, is out now.

Buy it here.

CR May 2016 cover. Illustration by Charles Williams ( May 2016 cover. Illustration by Charles Williams (

Read more here:: CR Annual best in book: Digital