One thing we pride ourselves on at Cool Hunting is the strength and intelligence of our loyal audience. From the artists, designers and fascinating troublemakers we feature to the individuals of all professions, ages and interests worldwide who visit our site, we're driven to uncover creativity and innovation in every cranny of the planet. In 2012, the stories that drove the most traffic offered insight that both intrigued and pleased us—some obvious hits, but others unexpected magnets. Here, the top stories from the past year that proved the voracious physical, sexual and cultural energy of our audience.
Hovding Invisible Bike Helmet
The peculiar, inflatable airbag for your head, designed by Swedish duo Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, became our most-visited story in 2012. The invisible kit activates on impact like a car's airbags and, while it looks vaguely cartoonish when blown up, this is no gimmick—Haupt and Alstin spent years extensively testing and researching its safety and effectiveness. Our readers, like us, were blown away by the innovative design and technology behind such a crucial piece of gear for cyclists.
iPhone 5 Cases
Apple released a new iPhone in September with a slimmer silhouette and our readers needed cases. We had our selection picked out quickly, you all were keen to see options beyond the standard hardshell.
The Little Book of Big Breasts + The Little Book of Big Penises
The pocket-sized pair of books offer something for everyone, enough said.
Ford Police Interceptors
Test-driving cop cars ranks up there in fantasy-fulfillment for both our team and our readers, who Stumbled the story to record numbers. Police enhancements like extra-large brakes for halting stops combine with tremendous horsepower to make the drive pretty fun, and interior accents like anti-intrusion steel plates behind seats cushioned for the butt of a gun are simply fascinating to learn about.
On the other side of the law (depending on how and where you use it), Ploom's high-tech new pipe they've dubbed the "iPhone of vaporizers" impressed our readers nearly as much as law enforcement vehicles. Temperature control, auto-off and quick heating capabilities are great extras for the most discreet and convenient way to puff we've seen yet.
We're definitely Nike lovers around these parts, and our readers were as pumped as we were to get on board with the Fuelband released this year. Spurring healthy inter-office competition for activity points at CH HQ, the Fuelband has ushered in a new foundation for tracking and competition int he digital age.
I Feel Lucky
"I Feel Lucky," Frank Yamrus' series of self portraits depicting his journey into middle age resonated with us for its honest humor and insight. With sexuality as a recurring theme, the show's copious nudity landed the story link on a popular art and porn aggregator, so visitors came flocking to our site to check it out.
100 Headless Women
As we've learned, nudity draws in readers on par with Apple products and photographer Max Snow's Spring 2012 exhibition portraying 100 topless women, rendered anonymous by having their faces blacked out, was no exception. We talked to the artist about sexual politics and the female form, two topics our readers find endlessly intriguing.
VSTR and Partners & Spade
When solid brands—especially those headed up by legends in their field like Kelly Slater—team up to make a solid product, people want to learn more. The Nomadic Pack from Slater's young surf lifestyle brand VSTR and NYC's revered Partners & Spade earned a fair share of clicks, with readers interested in the bag's stashed hammock and detachable messenger bag.
100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design
With design at the core of what we focus on at Cool Hunting, it's no surprise that our readers were as captivated by the new title from Steven Heller and Véronique Vienne, released this spring. Summing up the field's most significant developments, the collection covered in the book serves as reference and inspiration to us and to a large portion of our audience.