.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;} Making Sense: e-Digest of Brand Thinking

Saturday, August 13, 2005

There's more to good design than just stealing it.

Design is not a strategy; it’s part of the brand. At least, according to designer Yves Béhar, founder of fuseproject, an integrated design firm dedicated to the development of the emotional experience of brands through story-telling. Béhar is dismayed at the vast amount of me too-ism in design that exists in the marketplace today. The problem is that many marketers think of design as an add-on, something to slap on the product at the end of the line. Or else something to copy.

That’s one way to look at it; here’s another: Remember the
translucent plastic that Apple introduced with iMac? It kindled a new design craze. Suddenly, everything was see-through—from scrub brushes to staplers. So, the question is: Did Apple inspire other designers to work with translucent plastic or did other designers rip Apple off?

As I see it, the use of translucent plastic in product design will one day be viewed as a decorative art, just as mid-century modern, art deco, art nouveau, arts and crafts and the Aesthetic movement are. Each design period inspired a plethora of decorative objects and products, from exquisite to commonplace. Take Art Deco, for example. On one end of the scale there’s the Chrysler Building in New York City. On the other end, there are mirrored picture frames that you could buy at Woolworth’s for fifty cents or less. Both bear the unmistakable motifs of Art Deco design.

I guess we’ll call this the Apple period.

P.S. By the way, translucent plastic isn’t new. When I was kid (more than 50 years ago), squirt guns were made of it. (There were probably other things made of it back then, but squirt guns are all I can remember.)

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