“Good design is Honest”. Why is this important?

Honesty is important in design because often the company’s brand and reputation are linked to a product. Therefore if a product is dishonest then these can be damaged causing harm to the company’s profits and future. Products shouldn’t appear to have features which they don’t actually have, for instance they should not appear to have additional feature, be more innovative or appear to be of a higher value.

In the example below the kitchen timer on the right is the one in question in this case. The design of the product would impress upon the user that they must squeeze the handles in order to work it, however this is superfluous design and in fact the unit must be twisted as with most common timers. This is an example of dishonest design in that its appearing to have a feature it doesn’t and in that it has priced itself at a significantly higher value because of this.

Dishonest Design, Part One

Now if we look at the timer on the left it looks as to be made from metal. However, it is in fact plastic painted silver. Companies will often do this as a way of saving production costs, in the long run however it wears away easily and very soon is unpleasant to look at. Personally I feel this is a dishonest move, if I buy something thinking it is metal then it should be.

Packaging can also be dishonest. Often bottles and plastic containers use bottom indentations, in some cases the company will make this a lot larger taking up more room inside the bottle. As an effect the company can either get away with less product inside but still retaining the same size packaging as the competitors; or they can have the same amount of product but have larger packaging making the product more desirable. 

As designers I feel that we should aim to be as honest as possible when designing products, since in doing this we can help raise or clients reputation and branding.