Looking back on 2011, one of my favorite discoveries of the year had to be Kickstarter. If you’re not familiar with it, Kickstarter is essentially an online platform for creative individuals to raise funding for their projects-to-be. According to them, “Kickstarter helps bring people’s dreams to life.” — and that’s probably a pretty accurate description. The website is bustling with fantastic design (and art, music, film etc…) and equally amiable members. Though it has been around for two years now, this year in review clearly exemplifies the fact that Kickstarter came into it’s own this past year. It works in the following way: First, the designer/artist/maker posts their envisioned project to a pool of potential “backers” (ie: you and I) and a dollar amount of how much they need to make it happen. Then, based on how much money somebody chooses to ‘pledge’ to the project — they will get something in return from the maker — often, but not always, the product itself (not to mention the knowledge that they’ve helped facilitate something special). Feel like you’ve been missing out? Fear not, there are plenty of projects on the go right now and Core77‘s curated list is a great place to start discovering them. Pictured are a few design highlights for me from the past year.