20 Amazing Designs That Are Almost Too Clever for Their Own Good

From innovative butter packets to accessible picnic tables, the products on this list are genius and the people who created them should be given medals.

Robin Zlotnick - Author

Aug. 29 2019, Updated 5:18 p.m. ET

featured design porn

The internet is chock full of collections of design fails. We all know a terrible design when we see one. But sometimes it's hard to pinpoint when we see objects with good design because they seamlessly improve our lives without us even noticing. So we're taking a moment to appreciate people who really thought about making our lives easier when they designed their products, or just went out of their way to delight and surprise us.

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Crutch clutch

This cart in Target has a space specifically for you to put your crutches if you're injured! Believe me, it's no picnic to roam the aisles of Target with a severely sprained ankle. I would know. I've done it multiple times.

Double-sided mask

This sleep mask provided by Russian Airlines is two-sided so you can use it to indicate wither you want the flight attendants to wake you for meals or let you sleep. This would clear up so much confusion for people and should be standard on all overnight flights!

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Drill bit included

How brilliant is this? This pack of screws comes with a drill bit specifically sized to work with them. That way, you don't have to get home and search through your entire toolbox to find a match.

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Color-coded baskets

This is genius! I almost never want retail workers to approach me. I'm very awkward and never know what to say, so I would always go for the gray basket. But those bold, red people... you do you!

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Meat labels

This empanada has the filling inside stamped on the outside, which is so clever because when I buy a box of ten mixed empanadas, I need to know what I'm biting into first. 

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Shower saver

I love this so much. This hotel shower has a cutout in its door so you can reach in and turn the shower on without being splashed with tiny drops of freezing cold water. It's brilliant and I want this in every bathroom from now on.

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BIllboard bench

IBM is out here advertising "Smart Ideas for Smarter Cities" on a poster that also doubles as a public bench! I'd say they nailed this advertising campaign. Give that creative director a raise. They clearly know what they're doing.

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Graphic design help

I mean, this is the best. The best way to convey your need for a graphic designer is to advertise that need with the worst designed billboard you can imagine. This falls into the "so bad it's good" category of design.

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Rubber top

Have you ever opened a container of hand cream, put the lotion on your hands, and then tried to screw the hard plastic top back on? It's almost impossible with your wet, greasy hands. But Working Hands hand cream has a soft, rubber top to keep it easy to open and close.

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Reflective DVD

Well, this is officially the most clever, adorable DVD packaging I have ever seen in my life. This artist, whoever they are, definitely did not get the international recognition they deserved specifically for this DVD case.

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Feathers and fur

It's a bird! It's a dog! It's the best, most adorable logo for a pet store ever! The ear of the dog is the beak of the bird in this clever store logo. I suddenly want to give them all my business and also buy a bird, which is something I've never felt before.

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Open door warnings

This is genius. The carpet in this middle school indicates which classroom doors open outward so you won't get whacked with a door while you're sitting in the hallway. As someone who spent a lot of time at school sitting in hallways, I can tell you that this was definitely a concern.

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Single butter knives

This is the best thing I have ever seen. Hands down. The tops of these single-serve packets of butter are little knives you can use to spread it. No more dipping your hangover kaiser roll into a pat of butter and smearing it around with your finger on Metro North because you forgot to grab a plastic knife. Not that I've done this, of course...

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Courtesy plug

Every single plug that's manufactured from this day forward should look like this. How many outlets are completely ruined because you can't actually fit two plugs in there? It's a problem we have all dealt with before. And it's totally preventable!

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Double-duty dish

This is a cake stand, sure, but after your cake is finished, you can clean it and flip it over, and it becomes a perfect chip-and-dip dish! This is the best because no one I know has money or room in their kitchen for dishes that only have one very specific function. At least this has two.

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Beer windows

This amazing tap setup shows you exactly what each beer or cider looks like before you order it, which is perfect for beer noobs who don't know what words like "lager" and "porter" and "stout" and "brown" mean.

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Accessible picnic table

This picnic table is extended to provide extra room for people in wheelchairs, which is so good and necessary and I feel like a total idiot for not realizing that regular picnic tables are totally discriminatory in favor of able-bodied folks. 

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Floor plan

Not going to lie, when I first saw that this hotel had "Evacuation Plan" signs on the floor, I was confused, and I may have whispered to myself, "Is this in case there are dogs who can read?" But then I realized that if there's fire or smoke, people might have to crawl to safety, and this sign will help them know where to go! Brilliant.

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Gum papers

This little bucket of chewing gum comes with papers for you to dispose of your chewed pieces, which is so critical. I mean, I always have a place to throw my chewed gum since my car is totally littered with old receipts, but if you're not a slob, this is extremely helpful. 

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Top or bottom label

This is one tiny, simple innovation that I have personally been able to benefit from, and let me tell you, it saves lives. Knowing which way the fitted sheet is supposed to go from the very beginning is no small feat. My relationship has been saved several times by this little sheet tag.

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