Top 10 Creative Ways To Display Time

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By Haroon Baig

Clocks don’t have to be boring. Of course, clocks need need to remain usable and display current time; however, they can do it in a number of creative ways. You are about to see some of the most creative examples out there. Take some time and enjoy.

1. Uniqlock

Uniqlock1

What shall I say. If the others are songs, Uniqlock2 is the concert. Japanese girls dance focusing your attention away from the passing time. Probably one of the strangest — unique — clock screensavers3 out there.

2. Word Clock

Word Clock4

Whether you hate or love Helvetica, you’ll just love Word Clock5 (for you haters out there the typeface can be changed). Simon Heys6, the creative director of Tonic7, definitely deserves the place on the podium with this stunning piece. You can download the screensaver (PC and Mac) as well as an iPhone application here8.

3. DropClock

DropClock9

DropClock10 is an aesthetically intriguing motion clock screensaver. Every minute of real time is numerically expressed with heavy helvetica dropping into water in super slow-motion. An impressive piece of art by Yugop2411. You can get the screensaver here12 (PC and Mac, price: $15).

4. Uncontrol Clock

Uncontrol Clock13

Among other things Uncontrol Website offers the so-called “55 clock” for free download. This clock uses the 3rd dimension to combine an analogue display with a digital clock display. Ingenious.

5. FedEx “Just in time”

Just in time14

Just in time15 is the message of this advertising banner for FedEx, which won a Gold Lion in the Cyber Lions category in Cannes 2005. And deservedly so. You get the message.

6. Pulse Clock

Pulse Clock16

This neat little Actionscript Experiment by Mrdoob17 currently rocking at HiReS!18 convinces through simplicity and aesthetics. Built using Papervision3D19 to experiment with real-time shadows.

7. Humanclock

Humanclock20

Humanclock21 is a project by Craig D. Giffen. People from all over the world submit pictures with certain times on them. Every minute there is a new picture telling the current time. Simple as that. Read the project page22 for more info (you’ll find an analogue version, too).

8. Industrial Clock

Industrial Clock23

Way back in 2000 the design legend Yugo Nakamura aka Yugop2411 amazed the community with his Industrial Clock25. It is not exaggerated to say that this piece has created a whole new genre of “video clocks” and served many others as inspiration (as you can see in some other examples).

9. Grid-Based Clock

Grid Based Clock26

This clock is built by Geoffroy Delobel and based on an idea by Sleepatwork27. The Grid Based Clock28 is a rather “constructivist” approach to display the time. Its elementary formal vocabulary makes a unique and unusual charm. You can get the screensaver here29 (PC and Mac).

10. Clockr

Clockr30

Mario Klingemann (aka Quasimondo31) came up with this classic. Clockr32 uses random digit images from Flickr to display the current time.Click on a number to change the image, double-click it to view the full image. Use the mouse wheel to cycle through (just give it some time if it doesn’t display the images right away). You can download the screensaver here33 (Win only).

Runners-up

Runners-up

Well, they might not made it to the top 10, but they are definitely worth a look:

You disagree with the order? What is your favourite? You know another amazing clocks that are missing? Please use the comment section to show your examples!

About the author

Haroon Baig48 is a communication designer currently working as a User Interface Designer in Germany.

Editor’s note

This post is one of the finalists of our guest author contest49. Over three weeks selected top-10-lists and discussion articles will be published. To rate the articles we’ll analyze their popularity, users activity, quality of backlinks, traffic and further data.


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  1. 1

    at first I was gonna say some of these I’ve already seen, but the runner up category sealed the deal for me. An excellent article all around.

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  2. 2

    One link is wrong, please fix that:
    Mrdoob’s 2008 clock, the tex link’s ok, but the iamge down under is linking to a wrong site.

    but really a great article, loving the variation.
    keep up good work.

    0
  3. 3

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    August 15, 2008 5:04 am

    @Johnob (#2): fixed, thank you.

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  4. 4

    Thank you so much for this!
    Always a big fan of flash clocks (and then, transform them into a neat screensaver hehe!)!

    Just a small detail:
    “Time Bat” should be “Time Beat”

    ^_^

    Once again, great post!

    Otafu

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  5. 5

    Some very insipring soltuions however i think you missed off the robot stonehenge clock

    Daniel

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  6. 6

    The art of the empty one.
    If a common man, a newbie-disowned freelance create it, has great value?

    Those blinded for boredom !!!!!

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  7. 7

    Good list, thanks!

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  8. 8

    Nice list but missed a good one I saw on http://www.tehcpeng.net

    http://www.neologstore.com

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  9. 9

    link to 55 clock at the Uncontrol Website is not working

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  10. 10

    Wow amazing Screensavers :D
    hope if the Drop Clock one could be Free :p
    http://www.netbulls.co.cc

    0
  11. 11

    My fav is polar clock! Installed few days ago and it’s really cool – while it’s not so legibility it looks awesome :)

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  12. 12

    Very nice post! It’s strange but I’ve also featured some of those screensavers few days ago on my blog! Thanks for sharing more cool stuff. :)

    Joffrey,
    Geek and Hype

    0
  13. 13

    I had a problem with a few of those links including the dropclock. Gave an error.
    But good list.

    0
  14. 14

    Is there any way that you can get a clocks like these for your home? That would be awesome!

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  15. 15

    Very nice!

    0
  16. 16

    Wow – brilliant. First thing I did once I read it was download Wordclock.

    Great article!

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  17. 17

    Hey! Do not forget you can also have desktop wallpapers that show time! http://www.vladstudio.com/wallpaperclock/

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  18. 18

    I personally like the clock that I created as my signature on several Texas Longhorn fan sites.

    http://mackgreen.com/signature.php

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  19. 19

    The best guest article so far! It’s what everyone loves about Smashing: lots of pictures, brief commentary and great examples of a single design concept.

    0
  20. 20

    watch the hour get spelled out with the clock hands

    http://www.christiaanpostma.nl/clock_3.htm

    0
  21. 21

    Good, but didn’t SM recently do a post very similar (on topic) to this?

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  22. 22

    I enjoyed the top ten but thought it was a liiiiitttle bit sneaky to add a bunch more at the end!

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  23. 23

    An other Human Calendar where all the humans look at the one of the day.
    Thanks for your impressive work.

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  24. 24

    Some of the examples already were on Smashing Magazine!

    0
  25. 25

    Awesome! Triple thumbs up from me! (I had to borrow my daughter for the third thumb).

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  26. 26

    Pretty nice. I believe “Drop Clock” was previously mentioned on smashingmagazine.com, I really enjoyed it back then and used for a while.

    0
  27. 27

    Amazing post.
    Could you please post the Download Links for Runners-up 1, 5, 6, 7

    Thanking you very for this.

    0
  28. 28

    Those are very nice – how about a look at some calendars for the next post? All those boring wordpress calendars need some sprucing up, there must be a better way!

    0
  29. 29

    That’s what I would expect from a “Top 10″ Smashing list. Many of these clocks I’ve seen (and used before), but it was nice to see the others that were new.

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  30. 30

    WOW!

    Best article in the contest so far,
    please post more like this for smashing magazine!

    0
  31. 31

    Wow! Great post :)

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  32. 32

    Great guest post, just like a regular smashing top ten list.

    0
  33. 33

    Good post! Thanks^_^

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  34. 34
  35. 35

    These guest articles are really good. Thanks for being awesome.

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  36. 36

    this guest article definetly has SMASHING quality! Please more of that.

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  37. 37

    There is also a stylish clock in the Appstore (just shows the full hour).

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  38. 38

    Great article!
    i also love the follow ups section as well as the posted examples in the comments,
    wich makes this top ten list a great ressource.

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  39. 39

    Looks too heavy for a blog displaying flash and/or java scripts clock like all the samples above.

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  40. 40

    Take a look of This One. Should be included in the list!

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  41. 41

    all cube no look free water

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  42. 42

    a nice, simple yet aesthetic one is FLIQLO™ 1.1, its available from http://www.9031.com/downloads/
    developed by Yuji Adachi, its definitely a worth a look

    0
  43. 43

    Great collection, my favourite is the dropclock

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  44. 44

    wow..
    came to this website via this post.
    awesome!
    keep on!

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  45. 45

    This list is missing my favorite screensaver FractalClock

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  46. 46

    Great list. I personally use the World Clock on my iMac at work and home. It serves as an awesome screensaver.

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  47. 47
  48. 48

    Time is of little consequence to me yet I am obsessed with clocks for my computer. This was a very exciting article for me. I have no life……. help me, somebody…. anybody…..
    So, what’s the time now? And now? What fun.
    Seriously – HELP!!!!!

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  49. 49
  50. 50

    Alexandre Plennevaux

    August 24, 2008 2:19 pm

    how about this one? RGB Clock!

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  51. 51

    Woderful! very creative!

    Schahryar – a web designer

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  52. 52

    How do i use Mathieu-Badimon’s Block Clock on my pc? i really want this one as screensaver!

    thanks!

    0
  53. 53

    #8 is the Industrious Clock, not Industrial. Typos aside, it’s a great list.

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  54. 54

    Great article. I have been thinking about ways of displaying passage of time myself. Time is mostly displayed as a snapshot (here is our, admittedly rather daft take on that: http://mobicreators.com/humanclock/). I am yet to see something that would give a feeling of continuum.

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