Today’s topic is “Good design is durable”.

Durable or long lasting design can be considered important since it helps reduce the amount of wastage produced through the disposal of products and the production of materials. 

There are six stages within a products life-cycle; raw materials, manufacturing, assembly, distribution, usage and end of life. Traditionally the only stages designers had any impact on were the manufacturing and usage stages, however with sustainability becoming more important within all factor of life the designer now has a greater chance to impact the other stages. Incorporating sustainability into all forms of design has become an important factor because it is one of the main areas that can influence the public into using less resources, even if they are unaware they are doing it. Whilst it is an influencing factor within designs it can sometimes be pushed aside to meet cheaper production methods and resources, and as such this can be detrimental to successful sustainable development.

One important consideration is the way the parts are assembled and whether or not in their lifetime they will need to be disassembled. In order to prolong the life of a product during the usage stage it should be assessed whether it has parts that could be replaced, in theory extending its life. If this is the case, some methods that don’t allow for easy removal of parts should be disallowed such as clip fittings and built in snap fittings, which have a tendency to snap off when trying to separate the components; instead a more traditional method of using screws would be acceptable since even though its using more parts and therefore more resources the long term effect of having replaceable parts will heavily outweigh the ecological cost of replacing the entire unit when a part breaks.

For example the Aeron chair by Herman Miller is constructed in a way that parts can be replaced when worn out or damaged. As such this extends the products life cycle significantly, thus reducing wasteful production of new units to replace the old.

The other aspect is with technology. With today’s society one major problem is that within a few weeks or months of the products release then next iteration is released. Whilst this is good from a consumerist approach, when viewed from a durability point this is a very wasteful methodology. The ways the designer can help prevent this is firstly by making the product not possible of going out of date quickly; the second is by making the product easy to disassemble at the products end of life so that the respective parts can be recycled.

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