I was thinking about design today and how good design often goes quietly unnoticed while bad design really grabs you by the hair and makes you wonder who is responsible for those horrible things we are forced to live with from day to day.
I’ve always admired the simple elegance of the classic martini glass. People try in vain to jazz it up from time to time but always fail to improve on it.
So how do you know when you have achieved the best design for something? The classic answer is when there is nothing left to add or to take away.
People often like to design things to serve multiple functions, which more often than not results in a product that does not really work well for anything.
I got a new pocket knife today. It was part of a service award and not something I would normally go out and buy for myself. The knife has several interchangeable locking blades and a tooled leather case to hold everything. It’s a clever design but I doubt that I will ever use it for anything other than a photography prop or a site gag. It’s too heavy for backpacking and not as efficient as a proper set of purpose made knives.
I also got a new pair of sunglasses in the mail today. They are Ray-Ban Wayfarers with Polarized lenses and yes those will get used and appreciated every day. They are pretty cool as sunglasses go and they make you feel pretty cool when you wear them.
Another benefit of products produced from good designs is that they work well and make you feel good while using them. We are funny creatures but feeling good is high on the list of features we want when we think about buying things.
Like it or not, design both good and bad is going to touch every aspect of our lives. It’s great when we actually get to choose the those products we will spend our days and nights with. Choose well and long live great design!