Friday, June 27, 2008

What is Industrial Design?

When people ask me what I studied at OCAD and I tell them Industrial Design (I.D.), they often look at me dumbfounded. What is Industrial Design? is a question that I hear often.

Well, there is no concrete - carved in stone definition. It's basically product design. Designing products like furniture, toys, product packaging, shoes, clothing, jewellery, cars, sporting equipment, kitchen appliances, get the idea. It's the mass production of products BUT not always. It could be small scale production too! It's designing products that help make people's lives easier...supposedly. It's design that also takes aesthetics into account. Aesthetics is an important factor when purchasing a product. Just look at Apple computer products (the iPod Touch and the iPhone) and the success of the company.

On the flip side there is bad design too. Unattractive, badly made products that do not take the user (consumer) into consideration. Badly designed products that may injure the user (i.e. children's toys are often recalled) or are poorly made and difficult to understand their intended use.

Parents - do you ever have a hard time assembling your child's swing set? Do you ever have a hard time understanding how to program an electronic device like for example a digital camera or a movie camera? Does having too many knobs and buttons on a product confuse you? Does using new gadgets stress you? Have you ever wanted to toss your fax machine or printer out the window? Well, it's not you that is the problem. You are not an idiot for being unable to understand how to program a VCR. It is the designer and the engineer's fault. Bad products = bad design.

Here's your chance to vent. Tell me about a bad product experience that you have had. Or tell me about a great product experience you have had. Anything that makes you squeal with delight when you use it?! Tell me about it...I'm all ears.

So who are some famous Industrial Designers?

Philippe Stark

Raymond Loewy

Le Corbusier

Eileen Gray

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Alvar Aalto

Buckminister Fuller

Frank Gehry

and many others.

The following video clips will shed further light onto the question of what is I.D. ?


Laurie Constantino said...

Ok, go ahead and laugh, but I love my George Foreman grill. It's the perfect tool for making panini of all kinds. I like how the fat runs off instead of lingering in the pan where it soaks into the bread. Cast iron frying pans are just about perfect.

Computers where the delete key isn't at the end of the a row are my idea of a bad design. I hate having to search for the delete button every time I want to use it.

cserdan said...

I must also say I also love my panini grill. I use it daily. No knobs. Plug in. Plug out.

Also my rice cooker. Perfect rice each time without any effort.

The worst contraption I've ever spent money on was a diaper genie. It made no sense at all. It was far easier to toss a diaper directly into my green bin.

Bijoux said...

Laurie - nothing wrong with the George Foreman grill. My mother has gone through 2 grills already and I have used it on definitely drains the fat from meat.
I have a small cast iron frying pan that I have never used as I heard it can be difficult to clean up afterwards. Any suggestions on efficient cleaning strategies? Which computer manufacturer does not put the delete button at the end of the row? I'm loyal to Mac now after I had repeated technical problems with my PC for years.

cserdan - another vote for the panini grill! Does than mean I should buy one too? LOL

I don't have a rice cooker either...well actually I sort of do...he's my "husband"...he makes the rice at home because he's a precise measurer...I just tend to eyeball things.

ha ha - I remember the infomercial for the 'diaper genie'...I always wondered how that worked.

kickpleat said...

bijoux, cast iron pans are awesome when well-seasoned. as for clean up just a rag and water to remove most of the gunk, no soap unless really necessary!

Laurie Constantino said...

The key to cast iron pans is not using soap to clean them EVER and making sure the pan is completely dry when you are done washing it - I quickly dry it over a gas burner.

Cast iron develops a wonderful patina that keeps most foods from sticking -- the pan cooks very evenly. As kickpleat says it must be properly seasoned before you use it. here's some decent directions for seasoning cast iron - both new and used pans (although I use vegetable oil for seasoning and it works just fine).

Dell computers. But ever a creature of habit - I just bought another one when my last one died and the damn delete key still isn't at the end of a row. So wrong.

Bijoux - next time you're at your mom's, try making a grilled cheese sandwich on her george foreman. So good!

Bijoux said...

Okay ladies, so I tried my cast iron skillet for the first time and now I have well defined biceps!! LOL That thing weighs 20 pounds. The cast iron skillet is a mighty fine kitchen must have. The results of frying food are impressive. One question. How do I remove the tiny bits of onion that are stuck to the surface? I tried wiping them off but they appear to be stuck on there for good.