Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Day 138, on which John splains more design ethics [18.5.10]

Dag hundrede og otteogtredive. 'splains', by the way, is an über-cool version of 'explains'. Just a little abbreviation I've been using a lot lately. Most likely not cool at all, hence the German. OK, top news of the day is this: one GCSE is out of the way. Wahoo! Did it go well? Meh, kinda. But it means I don't have to do Religion ever again! Ahahahahaha!

"Now hey, what's this?" You say. Well kiddies, it's plain and it's white but it's a classic example of today's John design ethic, which I like to call 'aesthetic flexibility'. Courtesy of Ikea, desk called FREDERIK.

People call my designs plain, but there's a reason. Just as the layout of a room should be flexible, the look of a piece of furniture (the aesthetics) should also be flexible. That's why this desk is so plain. If we apply it to a real drawing desk, it would be plain and white. Maybe you're painting and you get a large paint splatter on it. It will show up more on the white surface. That's the point. Stains and marks (so long as they're not just boring scratches) are memories of previous uses. This brings in a sense of nostalgia and makes the user relate to the furniture. If you can relate to the furniture, you can feel for it. It means something to you.

And what's more to ask from a user? Once it means something to them, once they feel it's properly theirs because of their marks and accidental customisations, your job as a designer is over. They can care for the product, it's theirs now and they feel it is.

So there you have it, a blank product is not plain but is a canvas for personalisations. Of course, this doesn't apply to all furniture! You wouldn't want it on a cabinet or chest of drawers, because you wouldn't really be doing any painting or drawing on that anyway. But, for desks and tables, I think it's the way to go. John's design ethics, part two. Sorted.

Oh lookie lookie Obi-Wan, it's challenge time now. You've already heard how my GCSE went, so that's yesterday's challenge over with. My challenge for tomorrow? And the penultimate challenge in these whole damn 20 days? To think up what the 3rd paragraph topic for the next 20 days will be! I'll have to think of an extra-special challenge for tomorrow...


ps. So today I ordered my first Moleskine... and I can't wait for it to arrive! I'll be following in the footsteps of design giants!

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