This week was all about learning to be aware of design and knowing the difference between the good, the bad, and the ugly!
As Paul Rand puts it:
Design is the method of putting form and content together
David showed us a simple example of a liquid detergent ball and pointed out all the design elements that were considered when creating the product: rounded shape with a flat bottom so that it wouldn’t roll around when liquid was poured into it; a slightly textured surface to prevent slipping; a wide aperture so the liquid could be poured in easily; a translucent colour and a measuring scale so you could see how much liquid there was.
However, with similar products coming to the market, competitors have to make their products stand out and this is when design and functionality can take a back step. With extra decoration and unnecessary additions, the primary function of a product can be forgotten.
There were a handful of design principles we touched on today:
- Golden Ratio: ration within elements of a form, such as height to width, approximating 0.618
- Hick’s Law: time it takes to make a decision increases as the number of alternatives increase
- Ockham’s Razor: the simplest design should always be chosen when given a choice between functionally equivalent designs
- Expectation Effect: the user expects something to be a certain way from prior experience
We were given a brief to find 3 objects that we thought were examples of good design, and here they are:
1. Muji – Handheld Shredder
I am probably Muji’s biggest fan, and recently bought one of their handheld shredders. I use it mainly for receipts and important documents so it’s perfect for my use. For £6.95, it does exactly what I need it to and takes up practically no space in my flat (unlike an electronic one!). The section at the top is actually a handle that you crank to shred the paper, and you feed the paper through the slit which has metal teeth embedded in it. The overall design is sleek, lightweight, and functional.
2. Joseph Joseph – Chopping Board
This chopping board came in a set of four: one for hot food (left), a red one for raw meat, a green one for veg, and a blue one for fish. The icons at the top let you see at a glance which you one you need. The grey lines on the corners are raised pieces of rubber so the chopping board doesn’t slip when you’re using it, and the board itself is actually reversible. The tabs at the top are very convenient when accessing the board from the holder, and the size of the boards are perfect for everyday use and small kitchens.
3. Cath Kidston Card Holder
Using my cards day in day out, I needed something that was slim and could hold a number of cards with a translucent section. The Cath Kidston card holder was my answer and I love it! All the sections are fitted with a translucent pouch so I can see which card I have at the top of each section, and they’re great for ID cards etc. The material is waterproof and very tough, so it’s made to last and be durable for everyday use. I also really like the print pattern on it, and the neat border stitching (more of a style thing).
— Good design is not decoration. Good design is problem solving. —