Toaster designs do not appear to stray too far away from the norm. Both SMEG and KMIX toasters features a simple and straightforward design, with easy to understand buttons. Aesthetics of both designs lean more towards function due to its simplicity, although the choice of colors are also probably meant to invoke pleasant feelings in the buyers. Personally, I like SMEG’s toaster more because it looks less intimidating than Kmix’s.
Trends observed includes a vintage personality adapted to look modern, contours, minimal and simple buttons, and the use of bold bright colours and pastels.
All products come with aesthetics that attract consumers to make their decision to purchase the product. However, different product comes with different target users in mind, as well as the story behind the product.
There are 3 different factors influencing the aesthetics of the product: Form, Function, Emotion. These 3 different factors would then allow the product to have a characteristic of its own. Let’s look at some examples.
First, we have a product which has been designed with aesthetic values based on the human factor aspect. Having said so, this product would have to provide a comfort level fit for most consumers, given that every adult are of different body build and size.
The Aeron Chair by Herman Miller would be a good example. Herman Miller has been making chairs that are of superb comfort as well as quality. The aesthetics of this chair allows the user to do multiple adjustments to the chair according to their preferences. I believe that this product would have been designed to fulfil the comfort needs of consumers who are health-conscious and would be the ideal product to be catergorsied towards ‘Human Factor’ node.
A product which allows user to complete a task in an easier or faster manner would be what I believe to be ‘function’ dominant. I feel that a ‘function’ dominant product should be straightforward, and allow users to know how to use it even without any instructions or directions.
One example would be the Nest™ Storage by Joseph Joseph. Known for their colour coding their products with bright colours, this product in particular, caught my attention. At first glance, this product is merely a set of stackable containers. But after looking further into this product, it is not what it seems to be.
There are also other functions that were designed and incorporated into the final product. Colour coding which serves a meaning, different sizes for different types of food to be stored, modular stacking, as well as reversible lids. These different functions allows the user to have have flexibility in using the containers, which I thought that this should be the way a ‘function’ dominant product be designed.
Last but not the least, another important factor which embodies a product, the ’emotion’ factor. It is not easy to design a product which effectively allow the user to feel good when they use the product. Hence, a product like that could possibly be a lifestyle product.
Sonos has been making their name known in the audio industry with their wireless home systems. Back in the past, audio have been corded and when wireless audio was introduced, Sonos took the chance and they have changed the way how audio works since.
Their wireless audio system allow users to have flexibility in configuring their audio products without the hassle of managing wires. Adding on to their wireless function, users can control their Sonos products right from their smartphones. Users would then feel that they have control over the whole sound system in the their apartment which I feel that is very much an emotional satisfaction, given that we live in this technology jungle.
My mantra is: ‘Good design accelerates the adoption of new ideas.’
The designer which I can best identify with is Yves Behar. He brings across fresh ideas and makes them aesthetically and visually pleasing, which is something we can learn from.
I am especially attracted to the Jawbone series which he designed. In these design, he creatively added simple patterns to lifestyle gadgets and it gave the product its personality.
Yves, also the man behind the design of the Jambox delivers the same concept with repetitive patterns which gives off a sense of style and characteristic to the traditional bluetooth speaker.
The combination of simple geometric shapes to form patterns and applying it to consumer electronics, is to me, a simple yet a ‘why didn’t I think of this’ concept.
Being a product designer, we sometimes tend to overthink and complicate things and as such, we miss the ‘simple’ and ‘why didn’t I think of this’ solutions. In order to be a better designer, we have to develop the ‘eye’ to look at creative solutions in a fresh perspective, as well as having the sensitivity to make sound decisions when designing products.