What’s Flawesome?

There’s a problem with industrial and product design these days: a lot of it sucks. Okay, that’s not too big of a problem, because we all know when designs suck, right? No, we don’t. Why? Because of another problem with industrial and product design these days: a lot of it looks super awesome. With advances in 3D modeling software and rendering packages, even the most half-baked idea can look like a product that’s currently being stocked on a shelf at Target. The combination of these two things…well, that makes an even bigger problem. Never before in the history of industrial design have we been able to create the most realistic and accurate models of incredibly unrealistic concepts.

Every industrial designer *should* have learned some very important things when it comes to designing:

1. Know the user. 

Who are they? What do they do? How do they live? How do they poo? That rhymes!

2. Find that unmet need.

Design is about solving problems. There has to be a reason we’re designing something in the first place. There has to be some need that is not being fulfilled, that our designs must address.

3. K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Design shouldn’t be over-complicated. Over-complicated designs just scream “I haven’t really thought this out, have I? *shrugs*.”

4. Make sure the fuckin’ thing can actually work and can be manufactured.

This one is kind of tricky, because while I was taught this in design school, I think this idea might not be stressed enough in other schools. Perhaps faculty in those other schools are telling their students to “think outside the box” or to do “blue sky design” or to “come up with shit that looks really awesome, but can only work if unicorns existed, and only if those magical beasts shit out tiny-but-powerful magnets that can support any amount of weight, and their horns were made up of photovoltaic cells with a 243% solar efficiency.”

What am I getting at with all this? Why does this website exist? Because as designers, my friend and I see way too much poorly executed design. There are too many product concepts out there that get massive coverage online, mainly because the concepts “look really cool.” Non-design people see these super-detailed rendered concepts, and automatically think “Hey, this looks awesome, so it probably works great.” Yeah, but most likely, that’s not the case. We won’t disagree that the concept looks great. But a hyper-realistic visual can really hide that whole “Wait, there’s no way in hell this could even work. Also, this idea is fuckin’ stupid”-part of the design equation.

Yes, I know, we’re designers that are basically poking fun at other designers’ work. In the design world, we call that “critiquing.” 😉 But seriously, it’s good to have others look at your designs critically. Why? Because when you don’t, you end up with sub-par designs that *you* think are awesome. That’s dangerous, because we, as designers, don’t design for ourselves…well, unless it’s a sandwich we’re going to eat. I’m kinda picky when it comes to sandwiches. Oh, but don’t get me wrong. It’s not like we, the designers who run this site, haven’t created some really bad, downright awful design concepts. Oh, we have. And you’ll definitely see our awful concepts on this site. The point of this site isn’t only to make fun of really poor designs…okay, it is. But it’s also to point out that maybe we—designers and non-designers alike—should think more critically of designs we see that look really awesome, but are possibly flawed.

Get it? Flawed? Awesome? See, you *are* smart!

If you have any questions, comments, or want to tell us that we have no idea what we’re talking about and that you hate us for pointing out flaws in your design, please feel free to email: throwhatemail@thatsflawesome.com.

Please note: any email we receive may be posted on this blog, especially if the email is angry and has lots of capital letters in it.

One Response

  1. I’m scared of this ghost.
    I’m scared of this ghost. July 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm ·

    […] how I talked about things industrial designers should have learned? Clearly point number 4 was thrown out the window. Silicone is often used because the material […]

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