'Design icon' is a phrase that is bantered about far too often for my liking, but tends to relate to items that stand out for a particular reason - be it representative of a time, a place, a successful solution to a problem or even a particular feeling prevalent at a point in history.
The London Routemaster bus, a phone box, the Le Courbusier lounger, Katherine Hamnett logo T-shirts, the Olympic Rings.....
All of these items, in their own way were created in response to a problem or an issue, and as history has worn on, they have been adopted as stylised logos which represent the foundation of the design itself. This is what an 'icon' is - it is iconic of a time and a place and can be recognised across the world as being itself and as a logo which represents related issues.
So all design is about communication - whether internal and external spaces, graphics, fashion, photography etc etc etc.
The very best design can communicate on many different levels - some obvious and some subtle, yet be accessible to people across different lifestyles and cultures - this is part of what 'iconic design' really is.
Plus, successful modern design also takes the wider issues of sustainability into account - a design can no longer be labelled 'iconic' lightly. Form does not need to follow function, but surely in times of responsibility and frugal thinking, functional design takes priority lest an object be frivolous and surplus to creation?
So - if a design is sustainable, can be read across cultures and lifestyles, communicates loud and clear, is functional and beautiful, can it be labelled as 'iconic'?
Well - today I found this, and it ticks many boxes. Would this be a (tiny) iconic design? It has my vote...