The Design of Stuff

I recently checked out the design documentary titled Objectified by Gary Hustwit, in which he interviewed famous designers about good design such as Apple’s Jonny Ive and Braun’s Dieter Rams, among several others. And of all the thought-provoking statements made by the designers it was one by award-winning Karim Rashid that stuck with me. He said that according to his research the typical person interacts with an average of 658 objects a day, which says to me that life is too short for bad design.

In the documentary’s liner notes, Hustwit noted about observing others’ interactions with their stuff: “Looking at their belongings, or how they interact with objects as part of their daily routine, can sometimes be a much richer, more honest representation of their life than what they might say about it. It’s more, well, objective.” And on the disc’s cover he queried: “What can we learn about who we are, and who we want to be, from the objects with which we surround ourselves?”

One thing I have learned this past year from the process of whittling my possessions down from several thousand to a couple of hundred is that I care much more about quality than quantity when it comes to material possessions. I’d rather have one well-designed pen, for example, than a drawer full of them. And I’ve learned that good design doesn’t have to be expensive, although I am willing to spend more for better design. When all is said and done, quality design more than pays for itself.