Invisible Design

January 20, 2011 § 2 Comments

I’m notoriously known for my annoyance in everyday items. This, I believe, is something of a side effect from learning to think like a designer; I’m constantly looking at things and trying to make them better.

Recently, one of my class projects was to find a household item that was ergonomically poor and bring it in so we could examine it and construct a new handle out of dense foam. I scrounged my kitchen and realized that I had never had a problem with my IKEA scrub brush (pictured above). I admit it’s not the best brush, nor the best or most perfect design out there, but it doesn’t annoy me which I believe is exactly what good design is.

I posted Dieter Rams a few weeks ago and if you watched the clip you’ll recall he talked about products in a similar way: they should not interfere with what the human is trying to do. It should aid, it should help, it is a tool, but then it should disappear “like a good manservant”.

Truly, I believe that this is good design. This is the design that things have been lacking in the past 30 or so years.

My only comment that disagrees with Rams’ statement would be that the IKEA’s use of colour on said scrub brush (I have the red one) is appropriate. I’ve never been one for overbearing use of colour, but rather colour in ideal places that demonstrate or help (such as Rams thinks), however, if these brushes were white they would soon discolour with repeated washing in dirty water etc. and so I believe the colour is essential in keeping it from looking worn quickly.

And as we know, generally,  longer product life = better design.


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§ 2 Responses to Invisible Design

  • Karl says:

    Sounded like an interesting concept for a project. What are you studying right now? Here in the UK we have a lot of “product design” courses, one of which my friend is taking next year.. he looks into similar veins of production – just as much as a fan of Dieter as you :p

    And yeah, the colours, obviously in a model kitchen (or if you were obsessed with keeping everything aesthetically in order, something I find I don’t have time for in my daily life), they’d match the colour scheme etc, but I suppose you’d try hard to stay the line between stylish and looking like a babies’ toy, heh

    • Brennan says:

      Mechanical design at SAIT, which is pretty much industrial design: engineering, drafting, design, ergonomics etc.

      As a student with the associated student budget, there are lots of things I wish I could do to bring my furniture aesthetically together but alas, it remains somewhat cobbled.

      For now, though, it’s about functionality.

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