The incomprehensiveness of fashion

prada sneakers

Prada has a new pair of shoes – the Cloudbust Thunder.

They look like kids’ Power Rangers shoes. They appeal to… I’m not sure who.

And they are priced at $895, before taxes.

Why?

I’m sure they cost more to make than the Nikes people buy at Walmart. Prada designers are more highly-paid. Their nylon threads are sustainably-sourced. (Maybe not on that last one.)

It’s a luxury product from a luxury manufacturer. The outsized lug soles will not provide greater traction as the wearer navigates moonscapes. But the style will stand out in any crowd – at least to the shoegazers.

Interestingly, these shoes are in Prada’s “Must Haves” category.

Not for this shoegazer.

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Design for humans.

skin creme container protective cover

Product designers forget their end users.

This tube of creme had a security seal that would only come off using a pair of vice grips. The manufacturer never tested that seal with human hands.

Poor design surrounds us.

Bathroom hand dryers… the popular Xlerator makes so much noise that hearing damage may result. Dyson’s Airblade dB pushes your hands toward the sides – thus negating some of the hygienic effects of touchless air drying.

And the list goes on.

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Drawn to texture

a sea of toys at a charity shop

I love patterns.

Tha artistic side of my brain loves how zooming out on a sea of similar things creates a montage of uniformity with vast contrasts.

If you’ve looked at the masthead of this website, you’ll see a set of patterns that I found interesting. (Click on “Shiny Bits of Life” at the top. Then hit the refresh button on your web browser to see them all.)

Life is a montage of experiences and memories. They pile up and build a texture of thoughts and actions that make up who we are.


Footnote: I took this photo at a local charity shop. Sadly, these toys will mostly eventually end up in a landfill.

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Different interpretations

three book cover designs for Nineteen Eighty-Four

I love going to bookstores. Since much of my professional life has been spent doing graphic design, I love seeing how other graphic designers interpret the themes of books.

Lately, Nineteen Eighty-Four has been a popular book in the United States. The current political situation has caused some to think of the world depicted in that novel. (You’ll get no commentary on me about that, at least at this point. I’m really burned out on politics.)

I enjoyed finding three different paperback versions of the novel on the bookshelves of The Tattered Cover. Each one is very dissimilar. And they have three varying price tags: $9.99, $16 and $17.I did not take the time to discover the creators’ names, but I’d guess that there are three different artists.

I did not take the time to discover the creators’ names, but I’d guess that there are three different artists.

My favorite is the mostly white cover, which seems the most modern. (And again, I didn’t research the publication dates.)

It’s fascinating to me how different people interpret the same thing in such varied ways. I’d guess that there must be at least 100 different covers for that famous novel, that was published in 1949.

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You can’t force it

Lincoln Continental print ad

Lincoln bought the emperor’s new clothes.

This ad appeared in the February 2017 Fast Company magazine (in a very high-priced spot – the inside front cover). Lincoln paid a massive amount of money for the ad series, shot by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz.

Agency Hudson Rouge made out like a bandit.

But Lincoln did not think about their real audience. Showing a 20-something person behind the wheel of a $60,000-ish luxury car, newly-minted from a marque typically bought by people above 60, will not make 20-something people want to buy one. Nor will it make 60-year olds who want to be 20-something want to buy one.

No matter how much the critics like the car.

Yes, it would have been appropriate for Lincoln to push the envelope in their marketing – but not so far.

Maybe they should have put kids under 10 behind the wheel – that audience will need to buy cars, eventually.

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Come on, invent that

window-gap

New windows for an old building… sometimes that doesn’t work.

Seeing this gap reminded me of reading a great phrase someone really smart once said: “no one puts new wine into old wineskins.”

And that made me think of the gaps that are all over Colorado’s roads. The extreme heat and cold we experience – and the water that seeps underneath our road beds – cause all manner of cracks and holes to appear – and gradually become larger and larger.

Road repair budgets are not what they used to be, so car repair bills related to tires and wheels are becoming commonplace.

Why can’t a smart engineer-type invent an inexpensive elastic road surface that will expand and contract with the changes in weather and precipitation? This surface would need to provide a uniform surface – as in, very smooth.

Know anyone up for the challenge?

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Even though we know it

Starbucks Mug

When I finished college, I hung out with a group of designers in Dallas, Texas. One of the things we enjoyed was sharing meals together at some of the town’s many many dining establishments. And we would always critique each restaurant’s menu design.

Even though we were (and some of that group still are) involved in designing things like menus – or product packages – we were and are still susceptible to the lure of a well-designed piece.

It makes logical sense that knowing we’re paying for the ambiance of a particular restaurant with basically the same food as a cheaper but more spartan restaurant a few miles away might make us head for the cheaper place – but no. Or we’ll buy a thing with a fancy box instead of the same thing in plain box.

(The budget factor does play into our decisions, of course!)

Experience includes all of our senses. We pay for experience.

Photo: I love many of the designs Starbucks creates, including this mug. And they do a pretty good job with the customer experience, as well.

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A single focus

a medicine bottle in the darkMy molar was still aching, even though the dentist with a thick accent completed the filling a week ago. So it was time for ibuprofen.

After the drug was consumed, I returned to our medicine cabinet to place the bottle on its shelf. Being of orderly mind, I attempted to turn the bottle where others could quickly determine its contents.

Not an easy task. In the dark, the front of the bottle looked like the back.

A simple design choice could have solved this problem. If the designer had made “Ibuprofen” in large type with strong contrast, users could speedily identify the contents in low light or daylight.

That points to the idea, dear readers, that whatever communications piece we are creating, whether a simple email or a lengthy novel, we need to focus on our main point.

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