what makes a design distinctive is ONE original idea that makes it immediately recognizable
One of the most useful suggestions I received during the postgraduate course in furniture design at Elisava was: one product, one idea.
It is quite a common situation for a designer, especially in the initial phases of a project.
Let’s assume I want to design a coffee set with one specific characteristic: I want it stackable. At the same time, I think it might be interesting if it had a distinctive peculiarity, such as bird-wing shaped handles (it’s just an example, I hope I’ll never put a pair of wings on a cup). Or maybe I design a self-supporting side table that can be put together without screws, and decide it might be nice to add a mobile phone or laptop charger to it.
Keeeep it simple!!
Of course, I could add any features I wanted to my table; it could have a built in coffee maker, it may turn into an ironing board and, why not, even give me a foot massage!
But what makes a design distinctive is ONE original idea that makes it immediately recognizable.
By adding too many concepts into a single product, we risk to overshadow the very defining functions of all the ideas. Basically, if one of those concepts is eclipsed by another, it could mean that it doesn’t really add anything to our design. If all the ideas are good, why not develop them in different designs?
That said, I must leave now. I feel the inexplicable urge to start drawing cups with wings...