GOOD DESIGN & BAD DESIGN

Design is a balance among art, science, technology and business. It has to be highly communicable, functional and aesthetic. It mainly has to serve its purpose and has to be holistic and meaningful with respect to the design DNA/language. It has to be user centric, user friendly, inclined towards problem solving and should have a good business value for the better future.

GOOD DESIGN

01. CIGARETTE

The design of the cigarette is highly communicable. The dual color code distinguishes the tobacco and the filter parts. The size of the cigarette is perfect to hold and gives a proper grip to the user. The packaging part of the design is impeccable and always has excited me with its minimalistic design language.

02. CIGAR GAS LIGHTER

The design of the cigar gas lighter is highly functional. After reading about the history and the transportation of fire and the evolution of matchbox, I realized the matchbox as an epitome of design. But in modern days it has some functional issues like the malfunction towards wind, exposure of chemicals to the human hands, hurting, possibility of it getting wet, etc., However, the gas lighter resolves all the grievances. Highly compact product with modern design language which is highly functional and aesthetically pleasing.

03. KNIFE SHARPENER

Sharpening the knives has always been a nightmare. It is evident from the fact that a person with a machine nearly half his size has been designated towards knife sharpening. Although there are a couple of modern products, it takes a Godron Ramsay or a Vikas Khanna to perform the function without getting hurt. Then came this product shown in the picture that resolved those grievances. The beauty of this product is that the usability and the functionality is based on the motoring action performed for the vegetable cutting itself. It has a stable grip and a handle to hold and highly safe.

04. CLICK PEN

There are quite a few features that makes the design of click pens holistic. It is light-weight, compact, does not leak ink like fountain pens and ruin the shirts, since there is no cap the possibility of losing caps is nil. It does not roll from the table due to the presence of the part that helps the pen to stick to the pocket. It is indeed a good product!

05. BOARD PINS

The design of this particular board pins are designed considering the safety factors in mind. It is evident from the form of the holder region. I have come across a couple of other designs of board pins as well, but those were quite risky to use. Since it is a sharp product, there are possibilities where it could not be seen to our regular eyes while it is on the floor. In order to avoid that and to make it easily visible to human eyes, the usage of primary colors shows the clarity with which this product had been designed.

06. SPEEDOMETER (KIA SELTOS)

The functionality of the speedometer is to communicate the velocity at which the vehicle moves. The design of this speedometer justifies its function. It is highly clean and communicable. Even when a driver driving at the speed of 100 kmph takes his eyes out of the road for a second to know the velocity of the vehicle, within a second, he will be able to know it and could possibly put his eyes back on the road.

07. CUT SHOES

Less is more. The design of cut shoes has justified it. Initially there were only shoes with laces on it. Those were also a good design product, but it had some slight safety and hygiene issues. There are possibilities of people getting slipped due to untied laces. In India, we have the practice of entering lots of places bare-footed like devotional places, some places with “no foot ware” sign on. In those places, it is unhygienic to touch the laces to tie or untie it. These are the problems that the cut shoes address and solves those problems. Just insert your legs and you are good to go.

08. APPLE PENCIL 2

The design of Apple has always been an inspiration for me. Being a huge fan of Jony Ive and Marc Newson, this product is a feast for me. The Apple Pencil 1 had a design flaw that the pencil has to be connected to the iPad in the same port as the charger input which looked weird. But the Apple Pencil 2 solved that problem in an unprecedented manner. The idea of the flat cut on the circumferential surface of the pencil to get attached to the iPad magnetically with a charging function is ingenious.

09. ADOBE PHOTOSHOP

There aren’t quite a lot of products that serves as a multipurpose tool, but Photoshop is one exceptional product. It performs multiple functions like photo retouching, concept art, animation, etc., Although the it performs various complex functions, the interface of the software is minimalistic yet highly functional and productive in all aspects.

10. QR CODE PAYMENTS

The QR code scanning system for the payment or the tracking was well realized by people during the pandemic when the whole world had to forcefully undergo non-tactile practices. A payment system that uses just the camera of a phone (a very personal device) to do the cashless payments without necessarily giving any kinds of input address like bank details, merchant name, etc., is highly innovative and a better design.

BAD DESIGN

01. METAL BOARD PIN

Although I have categorised board pins good products, this particular product does not fall under that roof. The absence of a proper ergonomic holding portion to remove the pin from the board is a design flaw in this particular design. Believe me, I had been using this pin at our college studio in VIT and I had to have a war between the pin and my finger nails.

02. SPEEDOMETER (TOYOTA ETIOS)

Imagine a driver driving at a speed of 100 kmph taking his eyes off the road for a second to see the speed/velocity at which the vehicle is moving. It will be hard for him to find where the needle itself is in the first place, I guess. There seems to be a lot of things happening in the instrument cluster itself. In my opinion, at least use of a simple colour coding to differentiate the needle and the speed points would have done some justice to it. The speed point lines look like an extension of the pointer needle. If the size of the blue graphical elements between the speed points is half the size of its present size, then it might have been a bit more communicable in my opinion.

03. CHENNAI METRO STATION

If you have ever been to Chennai Metro, you would probably wonder why I had listed it under bad design. I too agree it is a well thought design, but the problem is with those shiny floors. Believe me, every Friday and Sunday from 2018 to 2020, I use to travel in Chennai metro. The floors in Chennai metro are highly slippery. Initially, I thought that there might be something wrong with my shoes (Woodland, had high grip), but since I wasn’t using the same pair of shoes all the time I boarded a metro train, I realized that the problem is with the floor. In India, wide range of people use medium grip foot wares. We have a natural tendency to run to catch a train even in local train stations in spite of the fact that we are aware of the next train in next following 10 minutes. Taking the distance between the ticket counter and the platform in consideration, a person with medium grip foot ware running that distance to catch the train on that slippery floor is unimaginable.

04. APPLE PENCIL 1

Apple is considered to be the sanctum sanctorum of technological product manufacturing companies. Whatever they do, they are considered to be the best. Being a huge fan of Jony Ive and apple products, this one thing did not convince me as a good design. The “Apple Pencil 1” although was a highly functional product, its charging position had a huge problem. The Pencil 1 has to be fitted to the lightning port of the iPad where it has the higher possibility of the charging area to break. It occupies large space as well. Apple has ingeniously solved this issue in Pencil 2, since Pencil 1 is also being sold even today, I have enclosed this product also to the list.

05. ROAD DIVIDERS

This is a very busy road in my hometown Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu. In week days, this road will be flooded by vehicles. This is one of the three main roads with the shops on both the sides. This is a part of the heart of the town. This is a 2-lane narrow road with trees and shops on both sides. I am not against the dividers, it’s all about the size of it. This divider occupies nearly 25% of the road space. The height of the divider is actually same as the height of the human due to which we have no idea on what is happening on the other side. And also, since there is no breathing space for the vehicles to move aside, leaving way for the ambulance or the fire engine at the time of an emergency. The size could have been compact and if it had been a easily dismantlable and easy assembly solution, then that might have worked better.

06. SPORTS BIKES

This is a beautiful piece of machine. The moment you see this motorcycle in the list of bad design, I know that you will be shocked. I too do not have much of complaints about this beautiful product. The riding position of this motorcycle could be abnormal for any plus size person, that is because the fact that form follows function. But the pinion seat design is the problem area. These sports motorcycles are designed for track purpose highly considering the aerodynamics. In products like this, speed is the prime focus and it is highly a single seater design. Due to the demand and the gap in the market, these types of vehicles are forced to have the pinion seat considering the Indian scenario. This act of force fitting the pinion seat leads to the decline in safety concerns. Due to the inclination of seat, placement of seat a bit higher and lack of support, in sudden breaking and accident situations the possibility of pinion flying before the rider seems to be high.

07. WACOM CINTIQ 13 & 16 CABLES

Wacom is Apple in graphic tablet industry. Wacom Cintiq plays an important role in the life of artists and designers. Me being a transportation design enthusiast and an industrial designer, my passion and career is highly dependent on Cintiq because of the photorealistic renderings that I have to make. The main reason behind the selection of smaller and compact screen sizes is, travel. I travel a lot. From 2018 to 2020, I used to travel from Vellore to Chennai on every weekend and since my life was completely dependent upon my laptop, iPad and Cintiq, I took them with me wherever I went. Imagine the complications that I would have faced with those cables whenever or wherever I travelled. Wacom has given a bunch of complex cables for a simple 16-inch tablet. They could have clubbed those bunch as one single cable like Huion has done.

08. HIDDEN DOOR HANDLES

Just because it looks cool, it does not mean that it cannot be categorized as a bad design. Even though it was designed to look like a 2-door coupe, the ergonomics part tends to be quite a bit of a problem. I myself have seen people struggling to find the door handle. I agree that once shown, it will not be a problem, but that works only for personal use cars. I have seen cabs like this and also people struggling to find the handles to get in has become evident. In normal door handles, the usage of door handle is much easier with both hands. But here, the people using this handle have to either use their left hand vertically or has to twist their right hand 180 degrees.

09. COPIC MARKERS

Being a transportation design enthusiast, I love Copic markers. The quality that it gives to a marker rendering is quite magnificent. The design of two types of nibs are highly useful in various circumstances. But the problem is with the exterior visual design. The idea of using colour codes to point out the difference between the point nib side and the flat nib side is appreciable, but the hierarchy at which that was executed falls under a big question mark. It is not clearly visible. The point nib and the flat nib sign is also present only on a single side of the marker. When the surface on which those information are imprinted goes toppled, then it hard to find out. Those are alcohol bases markers that has to be used fast. While rendering a car or a truck, it is highly impossible to keep the information imprinted area on top to easily identify which is flat and which is point nib side. I have been using these markers for professional use since early 2018, I can not easily identify the sides of the marker till now. If I have to work with the flat nib, a lot many times, I open point nib, close and reopen the other side, and work.

10. TRAVEL COFFEE MUG

I do not smoke. I have a very bad addiction to a thing that could possibly be as harmful as smoking. “COFFEE”. I use to have 22 to 25 mugs of coffee a day in 350ml coffee mugs. I agree, no wonder I weigh 120 kg. Fortunately, now I have reduced it slowly to 5 in a span of 2 years. So, I use lots of travel coffee mugs and one such mug is shown in the figure. When the hot coffee or tea is sipped, the cap hits the nose because of which it had to be tilted a bit more for the coffee to reach the sipping area, which leads to an excess of very hot coffee getting poured into the mouth, which then turns out to be like a shot trip to the hell.