"Design is so important because chaos is so hard." --Jules Feiffer
As far as I'm concerned, truer words were never spoken.
If I added up how many times I say "goddammit!" in a single day -- in frustration over things that don't work, don't make sense, or are more trouble than they're worth -- well, I bet it's in the double digits.
I'm just happy that I have industrial designers to blame.
Take this from someone who can spend an entire afternoon deciding where to put a hook on a dishtowel - and still get it wrong - there are no small decisions.
It just amazes me that so many ill-designed products can make it onto the open market without a reality check.
I mean, where are these teams of steely eyed professionals with clipboards working on product design and testing?
I would like just the briefest opportunity to ask, for example, who was doing the thinking:
On my car, which does not offer a single flat surface, inside or out, on which to place a cup of coffee while I find my keys? Or one bag of groceries while I load another?
On my coffee pot, which uses a red light to mean "start" and a green light for "delay?" Shouldn't it be the other way around?
On my hairdryer, whose extra-long cord might be great if I had to plug it into the house next door, but since it stays in the bathroom, manages to wrap itself around and upset every single product in its drawer. Same complaint about my iPod -- life-changing device -- but, seriously, I have to undo macrame to get the buds in my ears?
On portable phones, whose tiny little buttons handle the most powerful transactions, but for some reason cannot be bothered to be in the same place from one model to another. Why do I ALWAYS have to hunt for the "flash" button? Shouldn't there be an international standard?
On credit card swipers, with their seemingly unlimited routes to take us through the same process. Always, the questions and awkward moments: Do I sign or don't I? Do they hit the button or do I hit the button? And will somebody please tell the checker to quit rolling her eyes?
I'll admit, I can be slow on these things, but wouldn't a store want to make purchasing a pretty straightforward experience?
This is the point: design is not easy, but it can make life easier. So if you have something that actually gives you a hint of what it's for, makes itself easy to use, does its job and maybe even starts a crooked smile on your face, you can kiss a designer for that.
And as for those designer guys in the lab coats, I'm suspecting they want to keep us confused and our lives chaotic. That's just when they come up with another time-saving appliance!
Tea Towels - Unplugged
According to Beyond Her, it's important where the hook goes on a dishtowel. You've got to make it small enough that it stays on the hook when you use it, and shows the design in the most flattering way.
High and Dry. Our new oatmeal colored linen towels measure 16 x 26 inches, silkscreened with eco-friendly water-based inks, which are soft, yet durable. Great for the kitchen or the guest bath. Like most BH fabrics,these get softer and dearer with each wash. Iron only if you must. $16.00 each. Find them at the Beyond Her store.
And now, from the "If You've Got a Minute" department . . .
To see someone else's take on what's broken in the business world and how to deal with it, click to watch the 20-minute video "This is Broken" by the always-entertaining Seth Godin on the TED (Ideas Worth Spreading) site.
Her Point of View
Designer Paule Hewlett takes on design, culture and modern life.
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"Life is too short for ugly dish towels. Really, ugly anything."