Why makes design products much better? Because designers carefully experience and observe the details of every part of life; they even solve the unobvious problems that people didn’t notice. “When the products are aesthetically pleasing and functionally correct, we tend to be unaware of them”(Stumpf 2000, P12-13).
Moreover, why will a similar product be designed for different types of user? Every user selects products depending on their demand; as we have different life styles, taste and values. So that’s why we can see so many similar products selected by consumers in the stores.
This essay will choose toasters as the research subject due to their popularity as an important part in people’s daily life. We use it every day, every morning, but do you know how the designers designed the two similar toasters in two opposite usage-situations that are sold to two different types of user? In this essay, I would like to describe two toasters, and then these two products are going to be compared according to their principles of design. ”Pop-up Toaster 1-slice” is designed by a Japanese company named ‘plus minus zero’ and the designer is Naoto Fukasawa who is a internationally well known designer.
Product design process There are various product design processes and they are all focused on different aspects. The process shown below is "The Seven Universal Stages of Creative Problem-Solving," outlined by Don Koberg and Jim Bagnell. It helps designers formulate their product from ideas. This process is usually completed by a group of people, designers or field experts in the product they are ...
The unique characteristic of this toaster is that it cooks only one single slice of toast in this machine and it is just like the way this company’s philosophy, which is “just right”(Plus minus zero 2003).
You toast your slices of bread one by one, you don’t hurry and it lets you slow down to enjoy your breakfast. When you toast your first slice of bread, you have time to drink your coffee and read the newspaper. As the toast jumps up and you spread the butter on it, you put the other one in. This situation can make you to pay attention to your morning life.
If you are couples using this toaster, you will give the first toast to the other as a result of caring and sharing. This special design makes an emotional activity for users to experience. The other one is the “Egg & Muffin Toaster” which is made by West Bend, which is a company specializing in electrical kitchen appliances and developing a flexible device to make your kitchen activities easier (West bend 2013).
This toaster is designed as a handy all-in-one appliance as for poaching eggs and toasting bread at the same time. Therefore, it is functional and fun to use, moreover, it is efficient for those who are making an egg and muffin.
This device will poach eggs nicely even if a person does not have any cooking skill. We use this appliance in a hurry to go to school or work, it offers individuals the best convenience to save our time (about. com 2008).
Before I compare and contrast these two toasters, I must first explain what is design principle. Dieter Rams, a renowned Germany product designer, had mentioned that “a good design cannot be measured in a finite way, so he set about the most important principles for what he considered was good design”(Rams 1980).
Now, I am going to use these ten principles to compare the toasters respectively.
The first design principle is the principle of innovation, which is “the possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted”(Rams 1980).
Not only did the designers of the egg and muffin toaster solve the technical problems of their challenging design, but also the pop-up toaster has its unique notion to make a new slow lifestyle for users to experience, therefore, both of them are successful. The second design principle is the principle of useful that means, “a product is bought to be used. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it”(Rams 1980).
In 1996 Kotsis was then undertook a month of work experience for a graphic design company in the Sydney CBD and in 1997 completed another month of work experience for Design Resource’s design consultancy in Crows Nest. Finally in 1998 Kotsis was offered a position in Design Resources and is still currently working there. Designer’s Work Kotsis’ profession requires him to work in partnership with ...
On the one hand, we are attracted by the useful function of the pop-up toaster, and on the other hand, the egg and muffin toaster is more useful than the pop-up toaster due to its multi-function design. That’s why you buy it because you want to use these useful functions to save your time. Following the principle of aesthetics is an obvious reason why you purchase this product. “We realized that the product made by machines could possess an aesthetic properly derived from a confrontation between function and form” (Sparke 2004, P75).
It is not enough that the product has practical functions, also needs a beautiful outside.
The pop-up toaster has reached this requirement as a result of its simple but modern shape that it is prettier than others. Nevertheless, it’s worth pointing out that the egg and muffin toaster, doesn’t focus on its exterior design but it still uses stainless steel to upgrade the texture. (Lambert 1993) In terms of the principle of understandable, we can explain it that “a good design would make the product talk”(Rams 1980); thus, we don’t have to demonstrate more words for it.
Evidently, the pop-up toaster is easy to understand because it’s simple and immediate to use, however, the egg and muffin toaster is more complicated than other toasters, too many functions will probably cause confusion when users use it. In addition, there is a principle that is unobtrusive, this means design is not noticeable, “design should be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression”(Rams 1980).
Furthermore, It “leads the casual viewer to discover something deeper”(Norman 2004, P114).
For example, it’s not apparent that we know the concept of the pop-up toaster at first, when we use it in one time, our heart will be touched.
However, the egg and muffin toaster directly expresses its features to us. The other principle should be noted is honesty, which means “it does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is”(Rams 1980), what is more, “design deals with future possibilities, but it welded to present reality” (Stumpf 2000, P101).
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Both of them are honest to consumers but sometimes we will have the comment that some multi-functional machines are not really practical and that is just a marketing strategy for promoting the product.
Another significant factor is the principle of being long lasting. “Products may avoid being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated”(Rams 1980).
Apparently, it is true that the shape of the pop-up toaster which can be used for a long time and does not follow the trends or the lifestyle of the time as well as fashion is more long-lasting than the appearance of the egg and muffin toaster looks functional not aesthetic (Plus minus zero 2003).
Let us pay particular attention to the most important part of “good design, which is it is thorough down to the last detail”(Rams 1980).
“Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the user”(Rams 1980).
Although, the pop-up toaster looks simple, there are a large number of details which are to be considered such as the material, color, line, shape, texture, form and the most important thing is emotion that relates with people’s feeling. In contrast, the egg and muffin toaster also focuses on a number of details in spite of its complicated application.
Nowadays, the most substantial principle of design is being environmentally friendly, of course, “design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment”(Rams 1980).
If you toast only one slice of bread at one time, you don’t have chances to waste the food and electricity. Thus, the pop-up toaster actually saves energy. Even though the egg and muffin toaster is a different design, it still saves energy without using too many appliances in different parts of kitchen at the same time. Consequently, as I see it, they are both environmentally friendly.
The last design principle is the principle of “as little design as possible”(Rams 1980) signifies “less, but better because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials”(Rams 1980).
During the system analysis, the analysis of system data is very important. Analysis of data is made up of more than one level at the beginning (first level) and different ideas are used at each level. At first level, analyst develops a conceptual system design. Since the conceptual design sets the direction for the management information system (MIS). It is vital that managers participate ...
In another words, “super normal”(Fukasawa 2007) also means “less concerned with designing beauty than seemingly homely but memorable elements of everyday life”(Fukasawa 2007, P21).
From my perspective, in contrast with the egg and muffin toaster, the pop-up toaster is an excellent example to explain that less is more.
It’s true that no more unnecessary exterior and desirable designs can be seen in this toaster but it is able to enrich your living. In conclusion, some products solve the problems of living, some products improve the quality of life and “some products don’t necessarily teach the user anything new, it does teach the lesson that even ordinary things in life can be interesting and that design can enhance living”(Norman 2004, P114), because products have extremely close relationship with users, every detail and every part of product is designers carefully calculated for consumers.
Obviously it can be seen that according to this logic, designers can follow these ten principles to design products. These two excellent toasters are the best evidence, so that is why similar products would make users experience the same task differently. A company or a designer decides suitable design principles and unique design concept for their target consumers. And then a market consists of a large number of products make users to select.