Posts in Product Design
The most intimate object

A cup is the most intimate object.  Embracing it with our hands, we raise it to our face to consume its contents with the senses of smell, taste, and touch.

Imagine two cups:  one is a mass-produced machine-made diner mug — one we've all seen or used countless times.  Its handle is large enough for one, two, and sometimes three fingers, aware of multiple preferences.  The white, neutral glaze is consistent and helps us see the contents easily, which seem more important than the mug itself.  Its white surface needs to be maintained for cleanliness, for the future.

via Amazon

via Amazon

via Charlie Cummings Gallery

via Charlie Cummings Gallery

The other is a one-of-a-kind mug made by ceramicist, Matthew Schiemann.  Its handle is only large enough for one finger, curving toward the shoulder of the mug, a curve that echoes at the bottom side of the body where the opposite hand, when cupped, fits in its embrace.  A modest foot reminds us it also belongs on the tabletop.  The dark glaze on the inside contrasts with the speckled green and brown gloss on the outside that appears spontaneously uncontrolled, yet consistently covers the surface of the stoneware clay.  This mug is made for the present moment, for the observant individual.

Modern design emphasizes systems, geometry, and grid structures that control a future-oriented approach.  Its precision, autonomy, and openness consider its audience broadly and economically.

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese term, opposite of modernism.  It emphasizes imperfection, natural materials, one-of-a-kindness, and personal experiences.

In the modern to wabi-sabi spectrum, where do you drink from?

First impressions last

After finishing breakfast this morning, I picked up my keys, opened and closed the front door behind me, opened up the car door, sat down, closed the door, and realized I left my lunch on the kitchen counter.  It was so easy to walk through those doors because the designs of these doors and complex locks are so elegant and reliable, I was able to thoughtlessly change my environment.  This is good design.

When Elon Musk invented and patented Tesla’s sleek, automatic door handles, he encouraged a more elegant and joyful relationship between a person and a car.

When we think about relationships, we often think about the spaces between people, environments, products, and interfaces.  How can we connect people more elegantly, seamlessly, and joyfully to what we make?