Day 2 of this series is in regards to “Good design make a product useful”.

Consumers buy products to fill a specific need. Therefore a product must serve the defined purpose for it to be considered a good design.  However functionality isn’t the only factor that can make a product useful! It can also include the psychological and aesthetic aspects. These should help emphasise the usefulness of the product. In some designs the aesthetic qualities override the functionality and hence detract from the usefulness of the product.

A famous example of this is with Philip Stark’s Juice Salif. In this case more focus is upon the aesthetic qualities and less on functionality. As a result when it is used as intended, to juice citrus fruit, the juice runs down the legs creating a mess on the work surface.

On the reverse if we look at eras where aesthetics have been pushed to the back in favour of functionality such as wars. In these times a product must function as expected so other factors are forgotten. In turn this has the psychological effect of appearing reliable which helps add to the products usefulness. For an example of this we can look at the older models of Jeep. The designs lack all the smooth flowing curves of modern vehicles favouring visible welded seams and rivets. This makes them appear sturdier and more in tune with their intended purpose. Due to the functionality being put before form the product does exactly what’s expected and become a reliable and useful off-road vehicle.

In order to make a product useful the designer has to carefully analyse what the intended aim, target audience and usage of the product they are designing!