10 Kickstarter design projects you need to know about

If you have a killer creative project that you're trying to get off the ground, the rise of Kickstarter and other crowdfunding services has seriously improved your chances of success. It cuts out middlemen such as publishers, who'd need persuading of the merits of your projects before taking a tidy slice of the proceeds, and gives you full control of your creative enterprises – whether they're posters, graphic design books or something entirely different. As long as you can find enough people to back them, that is.

Since it launched in 2009, Kickstarter has seen over 17 million people raise more than $4.4 billion, with 167,372 projects backed – a number that's rising every day. And while those numbers are huge, take a look through our list of 10 of the biggest design-related projects on Kickstarter and you'll see that you don't need to find a massive number of backers for success. If you can convince around 1,000 people to pledge money for your project, you should be good to go.

01. 1975 NASA Graphics Standards Manual

  • Backers: 8,798
  • Total pledged: $941,966

The 1975 redesign of the NASA logo is one of the most controversial pieces of branding ever, throwing out the almost militaristic seal that had been to the Moon with the Apollo missions and replacing it with minimal, fluid and futuristic wordmark that's come to be known as the Worm. Loved by those who grew up in the age of the Space Shuttle and hated by almost everybody else, the Worm came as part of a detailed design system that's outlined fully in the NASA Graphics Standards Manual. This reprint pulled in record Kickstarter backing and is still available to buy now.

02. A to Z of The Designers Republic

Biggest design Kickstarters: A to Z of The Designers Republic

The Designers Republic had a huge impact on design for music and games (Image credit: Unit Editions)
  • Backers: 1,324
  • Total pledged: £135,786

Ian Anderson's The Designers Republic is one of the most iconic design groups of all time. It started out working with the music industry, most notably defining the look of Warp Records, but it's TDR's association with video games that probably had the most impact: its graphics and packaging design for Wipeout on Playstation was instrumental in making video games cool. Written by Anderson himself, An A to Z of The Designers Republic takes you from Age of Chance (a Leeds band that TDR designed record sleeves for) to Zermatt Road (Anderson's Croydon address before he moved north), with plenty of detail, imagery and insight.

03. Munich '72. The Visual Output of Otl Aicher's Dept. XI

Biggest design Kickstarters: Munich '72. The Visual Output of Otl Aicher's Dept. XI

Discover the story behind the designs for Munich '72 (Image credit: Mark Holt)
  • Backers: 1,036
  • Total pledged: £84,657

Written and designed by Mark Holt of 8vo, Munich '72. The Visual Output of Otl Aicher's Dept. XI is the first book to take an in-depth look at the groundbreaking design work undertaken by the German designer Otl Aicher and his team at Dept. XI for the 1972 Munich Olympics. Dept XI defined the entire look of the 1972 games, from its logo, iconic pictograms and the first Olympic mascot – a dachshund called Waldi – through to apparel, signage and stadium decoration. Due for publication in September, the book also includes the complete standards and guidelines for visual design.

04. The ACME Corporation

Biggest design Kickstarters: The ACME Corporation

If only more of life's problems could be solved by dynamite and anvils (Image credit: Rob Loukotla)
  • Backers: 3,042
  • Total pledged: $105,083

A name familiar to any lover of cartoons, The ACME Corporation is the fictional company that supplied the hapless Wile E. Coyote with the various items he used in his attempts to catch the Road Runner in 43 cartoon produced between 1949 and 1994. Rob Loukotla has watched every episode and drawn all 126 of them, from anvils and dynamite through to iron bird seed and giant catapults, to create this stunning 24x36" poster. Having smashed its Kickstarter target many times over, it's now available to order here

05. Philographics: Big ideas in simple shapes

Biggest design Kickstarters: Philographics

A fantastic visual tool for grappling with life's big questions (Image credit: Genis Carreras)
  • Backers: 1,629
  • Total pledged: £65,217

If you've ever wondered what everything's all about, here's a project that can help you find some answers. Philographics is a project by Genis Carreras that hopes to merge the worlds of philosophy and graphic design by explaining big ideas in simple shapes. It started out as a set of posters and grew into a set of 95 designs, each depicting a different philosophical 'ism' using a combination of geometric shapes, colours and a short definition of the theory, and it's available to buy from Carreras in book form and also as a set of postcards.

06. Manuals 2: Design & Identity Guidelines

Biggest design Kickstarters: Manuals 2

If you love style guides, here's a whole book full of them (Image credit: Unit Editions)
  • Backers: 748
  • Total pledged: £56,768

Who can resist a good set of corporate identity guidelines? If you love leafing through style guides, Manuals 2: Design & Identity Guidelines from Unit Editions is a monster collection, featuring 20 design manuals created by some of the giants of 20th century design. Originally published in a limited run of 2,000 in 2014, this much-demanded reprint is your chance to get your hands on a set of meticulous and beautifully reproduced design manuals.

07. Clubbed: a visual history of UK club culture

Biggest design Kickstarters: Clubbed

Top one, nice one, sorted (Image credit: Face37/Rick Banks)
  • Backers: 1,403
  • Total pledged: £56,640

It's not quite all about the music. From Peter Saville's revolutionary design work for the Haçienda onwards, British club culture has always had a foot in the world of design, and Clubbed aims to celebrate the best graphic design in UK clubs from the last 35 years. It has a vast collection of logos, posters, photography, tickets, menus, cover art, signage, lanyards, fonts and flyers featuring work from some of the biggest names in design including Angus Hyland, The Designers Republic, Trevor Jackson and, of course, Peter Saville himself.

08. Hermann Zapf & the World He Designed

Biggest design Kickstarters: Hermann Zapf & the World He Designed

Learn about the man behind the dingbats (Image credit: The Kelly-Winterton Press)
  • Backers: 504
  • Total pledged: $48,915

One of the giants of 20th century typography, Hermann Zapf designed more than 200 typefaces over the course of his career and is almost certainly responsible for a decent chunk of your font library – five of his typefaces come pre-installed on every Mac. Written by Jerry Kelly, Zapf's friend and colleague for nearly 30 years, Hermann Zapf & the World He Designed explores Zapf's life and work and features a wealth of never-before-seen works and photos, as well as definitive lists of his type designs and calligraphic work.

09. Vignelli: From A to Z

Biggest design Kickstarters: Vignelli: From A to Z

Another chance to enjoy the wisdom of a modern design legend (Image credit: RIT Press)
  • Backers: 344
  • Total pledged: $29,733

Based on a series of lectures delivered by the legendary Massimo Vignelli at Harvard University's School of Design and Architecture, Vignelli: From A to Z was originally published in 2007 but had been out of print for a number of years until this Kickstarter campaign came along to bring it back. Starting with 'A for Ambiguity' and covering everything from book design through to garment design, packaging and typography, it's a wealth of design wisdom from Lella and Massimo Vignelli, and it's available to buy here.

10. The Font Deck: a Playing-Card Guide to Typography

Biggest design Kickstarters: The Font Deck

Learn about typography while playing poker! What could possibly go wrong? (Image credit: Ben Barrett-Forrest)
  • Backers: 720
  • Total pledged: CA$ 26,626

To wrap up, here's a fun way to learn the basics of typography. The Font Deck is a set of casino-quality playing cards, and each of its 52 faces contains a mini-lesson about fonts along with a beautiful visual example. With topics including typeface anatomy, kerning and historical typographic subjects such as Gutenberg's press and Chinese movable type, it's basically a pocket-sized textbook in card form that enables you to learn about typography while playing poker. Designed by Ben Barrett-Forrest, it's on sale here

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Jim McCauley

Jim McCauley is a writer, performer and cat-wrangler who started writing professionally way back in 1995 on PC Format magazine, and has been covering technology-related subjects ever since, whether it's hardware, software or videogames. A chance call in 2005 led to Jim taking charge of Computer Arts' website and developing an interest in the world of graphic design, and eventually led to a move over to the freshly-launched Creative Bloq in 2012. Jim now works as a freelance writer for sites including Creative Bloq, T3 and PetsRadar, specialising in design, technology, wellness and cats, while doing the occasional pantomime and street performance in Bath and designing posters for a local drama group on the side.