• Interior Design
  • Industrial Design : Importance and Technique

    industrial_design_banner

    I have written often about the overwhelming importance of design in successfully differentiating and branding products. We all know examples of well-designed products that become standards. The Ferrari sports car, the Rolex watch, the Barbie Doll, a Krups toaster or the PEZ candy dispenser are obvious examples of packaging, or product design that become ubiquitous to consumers around the world. When the rare Ferrari Testarossa roars by on the highway, we instantly know that the ‘yellow prancing horse’ badge sits proudly and desirably on the world’s most exotically styled automobile.

    One of the most famous industrial designers of the 20th century was Raymond Loewy. Born in France, Mr. Loewy became the designer of choice for manufacturers of consumable and non-consumable consumer products, industrial transport and corporate logo’s as a result of the simple design cues that he often built his products around. Visitors to the Loewy shop often noted that there was a bowl of eggs prominently placed in his office. Eggs were a real creative prop for all of Loewy’s associates. They were not on hand to be deviled and eaten.

    Raymond Loewy felt that the egg was nature’s perfect shape. The egg is oval, circular, oblong, smooth, white, and a peculiar combination of strong and brittle. No other shape is so compelling. When viewed it is pleasing, when held it is comforting. He made every effort to utilize the splendid inherent design features of the egg in his industrial design work. The simplicity of the shape became identifiable in ‘Loewy product designs’.

    industrial_designer

    A list of the famous products, packages and corporate logo’s that Loewy crafted during his long career is an amazing valediction of his creativity and range. The following is a list of a few of the works of Raymond Loewy:

    • Gestetner Mimeograph Machine       Pennsylvania Rail Road Locomotives
    • Schick Electric Razor                         IBM Key Punch
    • Coca Cola Bottle and Logo               Lucky Strike Cigarettes Logo
    • Leisurama Homes                             New York City Transit Train R40 Car
    • NASA Sky Lab Interior                      Exxon Logo
    • Shell Oil Logo                                   Studebaker Avanti & Commander Auto
    • Frigidaire                                          Panama Line Cruise Ship Interiors
    • Wahl Eversharp Fountain Pen          International Harvester Logo
    • Dorsett Catalina Pleasure Boat        Zippo Lighter
    • Sears Cold Spot Refrigerator            Huppmobile Auto’s
    • 1947 Filben Jukebox                         Greyhound Scenicruiser Bus

    This is an impressive list and many of these products are considered timeless and cutting edge to this day. Motor Trend and Car & Driver Magazine list the Studebaker Commander as among the most beautifully designed cars of the 1950’s. Loewy designed locomotives of the 1940’s are treated as classic art by railway buffs. In almost every one of these designs the styling cues taken from the egg are visible to even the most untrained eye. Industrial design students study Loewy crafted products just as art students study Rembrandt or Picasso.

    Companies and entrepreneurs that revere and diligently work for highly stylized designs are much more likely to succeed in both the short and long run. Consider Ralph Lauren’s Polo lines of clothing. The attention to detail, design, quality and manic maintenance of the brand as a lifestyle product has established Polo as a classic, decade after decade. Calvin Klein clothing enjoys a similar status based on the brands positioning as cutting edge, urban styling. The Benetton brand, on the other hand, was immensely successful in the 1980’s. However, the Company did not maintain its design creativity and has largely been in decline.

    Local designers have showed up in the strangest of places as well.  Two years ago, in Round Rock, Texas , a man names Norman Butler ended up showcasing a very famous home in the area that was known as the first industrial pipe designer showcase of the 21st century.  A plumber in Round Rock Texas, Norman ended up using what he had learned in his years of trade to help transform a colonial style house into a modern piece of art by using copper pipe to redesign the flow of an old space.  Further information was found at IDSA, the leading voice in modern industrial design.

    Of course today, the automobile industry is being roiled by production overcapacity issues, a global credit crisis and high fuel prices. In no industry is design as crucial as in the car business. And yet, it is almost impossible to differentiate one car from another on modern roads. The success of BMW’s Mini, the new Volkswagen Beetle, the Cadillac CTS, the Mazda Miata and the Buick Enclave are due almost entirely to their unique, sleek body styles. They are nowhere near the cheapest vehicles in their categories. They simply scream ‘cool, buy me’! Why do so many other car manufacturers not take note of the importance of differentiating, compelling design features when producing box-like, indifferent, cookie cutter travel conveyances totally lacking in special personality.

    Every aspect of a products design and presentation is crucial to creating a strong, lasting brand identity in the target consumers mind.  The logo must reflect the features, benefits and positioning that is unique to a product. The packaging must stand up to the competition and support the branding message being conveyed. The products logo, iconography, colors, printing fonts and package copy must be married to the container and the contents of the product itself. Well designed products seem natural, seamless. They draw the eye. They do not attack the senses.

    Raymond Loewy’s use of the egg as a favored creative prop is a clever device that can easily be copied. The egg would seem, as a basic foodstuff, not to offer much for industrial designers by way of providing inspiration. Nevertheless, Loewy had an eye for simple, elegant styling and saw unique art properties in the shape of the egg. These he utilized fully and created his own unique design style. The potential to replicate this use of naturally occurring or man-made design features is omnipresent. The successful new product will incorporate the best possible creative devices borrowed from wherever they can be harvested.

  • Interior Design
  • Interior Design Presentation Tips

    interior_mishaps_title

    There are few myths about how to decorate that will make your home appear boring, blah, discombobulated, and uninviting. These myths have sprung from poorly edited do-it-yourself design shows, badly written design books, and simple misconceptions handed down through the generations.Dispelling some of these myths may help you create a more beautiful, dynamic interior for you and your family.

    Here are the 10 worst interior design trends of the decade

    1. Vessel Sinks (Raised Bowl Sinks) – A very stylish sink usually associated with luxury. They come in many styles and colors and are usually found in bathrooms that have a luxurious feel. However, because of their height, they tend to be inconvenient and uncomfortable, especially for children. Can be high maintenance if you are a person who splashes water often when using the sink. This is a design trend with hidden flaws. Great for guest bathrooms and vanity rooms but not so practical for high trafficked bathrooms.ugly_ass_room

    2. White Carpet – A flawed interior design trend for obvious reasons. White carpet needs lots of care and maintenance. White carpet can pick up stains from shoes that seem to be free of dirt. The stains are not so easy to clean either. Not a good idea in a home where there are kids or pets. This is a design trend that will continue to sell homes. If you decide to purchase white carpet, be prepared to treat it as if you are walking on egg shells.  These design tips taken directly from Sarah Williams blog post about design tips for Liberty Hill Texas Real Estate, and can be read about in further detail in her blog post about tips for selling your house quickly.

    3. High Inaccessible Spot Lights – These high spot lights are usually found in living room and kitchen areas with high ceilings. They have a beautiful look but they
    are very difficult to change when they burn out. You will either need to purchase a very large A-frame ladder or a long pole with a small suction cup at the end of it. Either way, you risk injury or breaking a light bulb every time one needs changing. A beautiful design overall but only when the lights are working. Poor_lighting

    4. High Inaccessible Interior Windows – Homes that have high foyer and living room ceilings usually have these windows. They have an excellent “wow” factor. People are drawn to large, high windows. However, they are very difficult to clean and they need to be done by professionals or by getting on a ladder and risking injury. The ledges also collect dust and are also difficult to clean. Nice look but hard to maintain.

    5. High Inaccessible Ceiling Fans – Just like the spot lights, the high ceiling fans in the home are excellent decorative pieces. A nice looking ceiling fan adds plenty to a home. However, they are difficult to clean as they collect lots of dust. They are also hard to maintain if they have light bulbs that need changing. You need the large A-frame ladder or a suction-cup-on-a-stick to keep your ceiling fan well-maintained

    6. Decorative Glass Wall Plates – This is an interior design trend that also sells homes. Many people use decorative wall plates in their kitchen, hallways and living room areas. They come in many decorative styles and they give homes an upscale feel. However, they are made of glass and if they happen to fall off the wall, there is a good chance they will break. Wall plates can be as cheap as $10 and as expensive as $300 each. It is very easy for a glass plate to fall of the wall. All it takes is an accident in a home with lots of traffic or a vibration from a heavy storm. It is not a good idea to keep a glass plate on any wall, especially if it is expensive or rare.

    7. Narrow Spiral Staircases – Many people add this to their home because it supposedly makes a statement. A decorative spiral staircase represents class and elegance. However, it is very uncomfortable to walk up and down a narrow spiral staircase. It is also a big inconvenience if you need to carry items up or down with you. It is also very unsafe for small children as they can put their legs in between the space in the steps. A wonderful design that can raise your property value but comes with inconveniences and safety issues.

    8. Flat Glass Electric Stoves – These stoves have a very sleek look and they add to the overall style of any kitchen. They are also easier to clean. However, you need to use special cookware suggested by the
    manufacturer on these kind of stoves. Using the wrong cookware can scratch and even break the glass. They are also more difficult to repair. For example, if a gas stove burner goes out, all you need to do is relight the burner. If your flat glass range element burns out, you need to replace the element which is a lot more difficult and time consuming than relighting a burner. So these types of stoves are good for looks but bad for aggressive cooks.

    9. Stainless Steel Counter tops – These counter tops are very expensive and very durable. They make a kitchen stand out especially if the kitchen has matching stainless steel ovens and refrigerator doors. However, a major downside to stainless steel countertops is scratching. After the scratching can come rust stains. You can prevent scratching by using cutting boards and non abrasive cleaning products. However, the reality is that it is still a kitchen and in a heavily used kitchen, scratching will occur, no matter how hard you try to prevent it.

    10. Expensive Decorative Floor Vents – There seems to be no need for this interior design trend. Floor vents are placed in the home for heat because heat rises and cool air stays low. However, they usually have to be around the edge of the home because they are holes in the ground and they can be an eyesore. They can also cause accidents and injuries if placed out in the open.

    These are just a few of the more common decorating myths spread throughout society. Once you realize one or more of these myths are what’s making your room look boring or uninviting, you can set it to rights. Don’t be afraid to paint with bold colors, or try new textures, or set aside a few accessories. It’s the only way to break through the myth and into the land of good design.