Expensive Hillwalking Stuff

I love hillwalking. I don’t consider myself to be a massive consumer, but I definitely make an exception for hillwalking gear. The brands suck me in too easily with their spec sheets and fancy terminology. Since I got into hillwalking four years ago, my entire wardrobe has been replaced, ‘upgraded’. Part of me just lovesContinue reading “Expensive Hillwalking Stuff”

Is Product Design Inherently Unsustainable?

On 25 November 2011, Patagonia published this advert in the New York Times. It discusses the paradox facing the self-proclaimed ‘activist company’: how can you be environmentally sustainable while remaining in business? As a clothing company, Patagonia makes money by selling products. Any product must justify its existence, and this goes double for clothes. SoContinue reading “Is Product Design Inherently Unsustainable?”

The Sunbeam Toaster – Automatic Beyond Belief!

The quality of a toaster can vary greatly. On one hand, you get your student’s average plastic 2-slot, with a sticky slider and just enough space for small slices. One the other, you get something like the Dualit Vario 6-slot toaster – the Rolls Royce Phantom of toasters, clearly intended for drug lords and RussianContinue reading “The Sunbeam Toaster – Automatic Beyond Belief!”

The Heinz Ketchup Bottle – Driving Innovation Since 1869

Since I was a kid I always loved ketchup. I’m that guy who puts ketchup on everything. As such, the Heinz ketchup bottle is a familiar sight in our fridge, but it was only recently that I learned what a great piece of design it is. Heinz’s first foray into packaging was this horseradish bottleContinue reading “The Heinz Ketchup Bottle – Driving Innovation Since 1869”

Can a Climbing Wall have Great Design?

Climbing – or more specifically, bouldering – has quickly become one of my biggest hobbies. The combination of skill, fitness and problem solving has me hooked. There are three major bouldering centres in Glasgow, and they seem to be a hit with engineering students especially. Just to be clear, bouldering is where you only climbContinue reading “Can a Climbing Wall have Great Design?”

The Stanley Flask – Emotionally Durable Design

As we become more aware of the impact we are having on the world, there has been a shift towards environmentally friendly design. One of the clearest signs of this shift can be seen in the rise of the reusable drink bottle. Whether it be a plastic bottle, a travel mug, or a coffee cupContinue reading “The Stanley Flask – Emotionally Durable Design”

The LG Magic Remote and other Wireless Wizardry

As the designated family technician, it’s fair to say I’ve faced more than a few remote controller issues in my time. The buttons aren’t working? Check the batteries. Only some buttons are working? Maybe it’s in the wrong mode. Can’t find the right button? Ah, that’s a bigger problem – and it’s probably not yourContinue reading “The LG Magic Remote and other Wireless Wizardry”

Dieter Rams, Must Good Design be Honest?

One of the first things students of my course were told was to read about Dieter Rams, and inevitably we came across his 10 principles for good design. For a designer to set out such principles is a bold move. You are putting your reputation on the line, at the risk of coming across likeContinue reading “Dieter Rams, Must Good Design be Honest?”

Why Are Microwaves So Complicated?

The humble microwave is a common sight in our kitchens. However, it might just be the source of the worst user interface design of any product we own. Your typical microwave will have a numeric keypad, a selection of heating modes, and start/stop buttons. Simple, right? Well, not so much. All I want from myContinue reading “Why Are Microwaves So Complicated?”