Response to Product Design posted on Dwell and the keynote speech "Why Design Matters" by Alain de Botton at the Democratic Design Days in Zurich in 2016.
I laughed when in de Botton, noted that only in noting design at all do we mostly notice the absence of its excellence as I also find my self going around, noting in my head “design flaw!”. As said in the Design of Everyday things, poorly designed items are often in the world causing people to feel stupid. And as stated in both de Botton’s speech, the design of everyday things, and Dieter Rams’ second and fourth principal, The item should communicate its use. So then why in capitalist economies, where the best item/idea/design should be the most successful, why are we still surrounded by poorly designed things? Doors that when open, prevent other drawers and doors from being opened, faucets where you hands touch the back of the sink if your hand is in the stream of the water… Why have these prevailed?
Both the Product Design reading and watching Why Design Matters kept drawing my mind back to Dieter Rams’ Ten Principals of Good Design, which I have copied below. On of the Dieter Rams principals I considered most is the good design gets out of the way, which is what I found to be true in many of the photos presented by de Botton. The examples he showed were clean, and simple and spoke to the purpose of the item rather than it as decoration. So again, why do we now see chevron everywhere, or in the 90s, the strange mix of primary colors and geometric shapes? Pattern and decoration date the when the item was created, and since we have realized this, why does it continue?
My response is one of “what the hell, guys” that makes me furrow my brow and shake my head at people who intentionally choose items designed without consideration for their user in a way that quickly makes the item easily dated. They make it possible for bad design to continue to exist.
Deiter Rams: Ten Principals of Good Design
**These principles can be shared accurately and fairly under the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 license.**