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Innovation vs. Excess

March 5, 2009
6 Comments leave one →
  1. Madeleine H permalink
    March 16, 2009 16:48

    Hi !
    I really like your statement, I´m not agreeing on everything but I think you made a good point =)

  2. Andrew Freshwater permalink
    March 16, 2009 20:25

    Hey krystal, just gonna say nice little blog u have got going here… like the topics you’ve picked on, perhaps some are a bit weird!! dunno whats up with that sauce! lol but like this video i would have to agree on your points. hope the presentation is going well and ill speak to ya in class soon.
    Might try and make a blog too but might need some help setting it up, if you dont mind.
    Take care and see ya thursday!

    thanks alot

  3. March 25, 2009 03:09


    First off, what you’re doing is great, it takes a lot of courage to put your opinions out into the public . I’m a design student at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and I’ve had many of the same questions your asking running around in my head.

    In response to your video post: It’s the market. We decide what products are successful just by buying them. Companies do not invest money in products that they think will not sell.

    As designers, we cannot decide what products are ‘bad’ or ‘excessive’, perfectly decent people earn a living and feed their families making something like confetti. It’s censorship to say something shouldn’t exist because it seems silly, and not worth the materials, labor and energy it takes to produce. Don’t get me wrong, there is A LOT of silly shit out there.

    I have a teacher, Christine Atha, who gave a wonderful example using an electric toothbrush shaped like a snowman. It has a limited life span, since it is seasonal, (imagine the embarrassment of using it in the spring) and it doesn’t allow for replacement heads so it cannot be reused. It’s a bundle wires and batteries encased in plastic that is destined for the trash. Is it wasteful, absolutely, but it’s not pointless. It would not be made if people weren’t buying it year after year.

    The market must change, and that change will come through better, proven options that we as designers will provide.

  4. Matt Donnelly permalink
    March 25, 2009 04:09

    Actually a studio friend and i had a very similar discussion today during lunch. We were talking about the parrlells between Dieter Rams’ “Omit the Unimportant” and Bruce Mau’s book Life Styles.
    There is a really good quote from Dieter Rams that has a lot to do with your stance on how there are a million and one variations on the same thing and how its just a horrible gimmick to trick people into buying more.

    “… I don’t support dull or boring design but I do take a stand against the ruthless exploitation of people’s weakness for visual and haptic signals, which many designers are engaged in. The festival of colors and forms and the entertainment of form sensations enlarges the worlds chaos. To out-do each other with new design sensations leads to nowhere.”

  5. March 25, 2009 05:42

    it is quite the paradox…when the measure of a nation is based on its production…and it is the very thing that is harming our planet…

    economy proliferates production and the view is; the more the better…thats how money exchanges hands and thats how the wheel keeps turning

    also the diversity of product increases the consumer desire for more and more

    the title of consumer needs to be dropped…we must become citizens and stewards and more importantly people… rather than being demoted to title of mere “consumers”

    perhaps a regulatory design policy could be instated that monitored production of goods in a particular sector ?

    • March 26, 2009 09:09

      Madeleine >> Thanks for visiting the site. What is your stance on innovative vs. excess? Perhaps we can discuss it later in studio 🙂

      Andrew >> Let me know if you need any help! See you in studio

      G. Smith >> You brought up some really great points. I always think about big bad manufacturers, and never think about the families that make livings off of these products. Thanks for the great insights. I feel like its a fine line between wasteful and pointless, but you defined it very well. I agree with your ending statement though; designers in the end will provide the alternative options. I hope you visit the site again! I’d love to hear more of what you have to say.

      Matt >> As a design student I am ashamed to say I have not read Dieter Rams’ book. However, I really appreciate the quote you pulled out of it. It really speaks to me. It does sound a bit harsh, but sometimes design is just a “ruthless exploitation of people’s weakness for visual and haptic signals”. Really great feedback, thanks! Hope to hear more.

      Rich >> I completely agree with the “regulatory design policy”, but G. Smith brings up a good point. You can’t censor products like that. But maybe someone has to because the current environmental concerns? Or maybe it isn’t ethically right to deny certain products’ production. Hm… let those thoughts dance in your head for a couple days. Thanks for visiting the site, I look forward to your future comments.

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