One of the more self indulgent lessons that I have taught is where I presented a PowerPoint (ugh) of ‘designs wot I like.’ This is a mix of about 50 items including E Types, Minis, 911′s, Trangia cookers, and Thunderbird 2. It is an unashamedly subjective list. The lesson was intended to generated thought and discussion about design in its wider context. I had many of the items to show: Belstaff, Trangia, Thunderbird 2, sadly though neither the 911 nor the E Type.
And one of the items, the Braun travel alarm clock has been with me for years. This small item shows how affordable, and accessible well designed items can be.
Yes I unashamedly enjoy it.
I was impressed by Braun well before I even started to think overtly about design. I had a Braun flashgun that came with a camera I once bought, it just seemed right, considered and somehow more complete.
More recently of course I have become aware of the originator of many of the Braun designs, Dieter Rams. Few (including Dieter himself) could fail to acknowledge the influence that his designs have had on Apple, he applauds this, graciously.
But there are many who simply don’t get it. Many are clearly utterly perplexed about why anyone would use an Apple product when you can get the Tossiter FX1000-3 for £150 less. I guess the same goes for Braun products too. If you don’t get it, you won’t value it, I realise this.
Less and More
This week as I bought some Vitamin C capsules, I have the seasonal malaise. I could have bought the same thing for £1.99 or £3.99. The only difference was that one was branded, one wasn’t. A no-brainer, it’s the cheapo for me every time.
Now I suspect that many may get confused here where design is applied to the equation, particularly if it’s not a valued commodity. But believe me design does add value, design does improve things, design helps. However, be warned, if applied well that design may well not be apparent, “Good design is unobtrusive.”
Basically, if there is a badge on it that says design, worse still if the badge says ‘style’, move on.
There are some great YouTubes about Dieter Rams this is just one of many that focusses on how his work has influenced Apple.