Everybody has a story about discovering design and the enormous impact it can have on one's life—whether it's the grand gesture of an architectural masterpiece in an urban landscape, like Herzog & de Meuron's new National Stadium in Beijing, or the daily pleasure rendered by a more pedestrian product, like Harry Allen's new first-aid kit for Johnson & Johnson. My first experience with great design dates back to the early 1970s when my parents would buy stuff at a store called Design Research on Manhattan's 57th Street. What I remember most is the Marimekko fabrics, particularly the Unikko poppy print, which graced everything from curtains to pillows. Design Research is long gone, but Marimekko remains a familiar leitmotif not only in my family but in the design world too, where people like Manolo Blahnik and stores like H&M have rediscovered it for spring. Like all other great design, Marimekko bridges the divide between the utilitarian and the fantastical. One area where fantasy is pivotal is in the retail world, specifically in window display. Nobody designs more magical windows, in my opinion, than New York City's Bergdorf Goodman, where creative director Linda Fargo and her team of visual experts draw on such disparate sources of inspiration as the ho-hum Post-it note and the over-the-top interiors of Tony Duquette. In this special supplement to Time, we identify what we call the Design 100, the people and ideas behind today's most influential design. It's a list that spans the globe and also the spectrum from the everyday to the otherworldly.