Great design is all around us, perhaps more so than any time in recorded history. It’s not always difficult or tricky to find, assuming you stay aware (relax, I’m here to help).
For me, as a design reference/touchstone, I often rely on the common, the routine. I find that we constantly develop and refine our understanding of design from the familiar, through ordinary items we surround ourselves with on a daily basis.
Here is a great example…
Glass. As a product, it is common and every day. You drink from it, see through it. It’s not perfect design because, well, it breaks. It is rarely a perfect conductor, nor is it a perfect sound barrier.
That stated, glass makes the light bulb work as well as function. It facilitates the behavior of the mirror, makes the vase purposeful while staying nearly invisible. Artists imbue it with colors and shapes. We use it to read papers and reflect the sun’s rays. Tiles aren’t tiles without it.
I typed this blog post on glass. Odds are you’re reading this through glass. If you were to have read the first sentence 10 years ago, it would have made no sense. Steve Jobs, a lifelong student of great design, knew that only glass would do when it came to his revolutionary devices.
Glass doesn’t have a soul. What it has is just as important – it has an essence.
It’s nothing more than heated sand. It’s invisible. But don’t let any of that fool you…it’s also how we literally see the world, and that, in and of itself, is inarguably great design.