For many people, the expression “design product” is associated mainly with beauty and aesthetics. But, in fact, good design products offer much more than that. They are noticeable for their well thought-out functional features, their well-engineered form and high quality. In fact, it is these practical aspects that make a really good design product stand out rather than their exclusivity, brand image and high prices as sceptics so like to point out. A true indication of really good design quality is the awards it wins in international design competitions such as the Red Dot Design Award. Every year, it brings together design experts from around the world to evaluate design products and concepts according to predefined criteria, and decide which of them are of a particularly high standard.
What constitutes good design?
First the theory: to judge design quality, it is necessary to take into account a number of aspects. Among these are the level of innovation a product offers, as well as its functionality and environmental compatibility. Other important factors are its use of form, its ergonomic features, durability, peripheral attributes, how intuitive it is to use and, of course, its symbolic and emotional message. These evaluation criteria are critical when the Red Dot jury of experts makes its decisions. However, this does not mean that a product has to fulfil all these conditions to the same degree. The points mentioned are only used as guidance by the judges. Some aspects will come more to the fore with certain products than others. What matters is that the design consistently follows the elected path in order to create an outstanding result. To give you some examples of how good design is created, we have described a few below.
Truly good design breaks new ground – the degree of innovation
One quality is ever present in the world of design: the degree of innovation. The designer has two options: Either to develop an entirely new product, or to create one that offers a desirable new function or characteristic. Again and again, this is what makes good design so surprising and groundbreaking.
The Boomerang Kit from XVIDA for the iPad is a good example. Although there is already a wide range of tablet stands on the market, the Boomerang Kit stciks out from the crowd. Instead of being just a support, this innovative iPad accessory is the nucleus of a brand-new attachment concept with numerous possibilities of use; reaching from the classic stand to a novel magnetic attachment fixture. What is more, the innovation potential of this design concept was recognised with the Red Dot in 2014.
Truly good design makes life more pleasant – functionality
Many designers follow one basic goal in their work: to combine usefulness and comfort in order to create true functionality. Those who choose this path understand design as a means to improving the usability of a product – or to creating a useful object that makes life easier. This often involves a solution-based approach focused on identifying and analysing existing problems in order to find a satisfying answer that is as simple and practical as possible.
In the Red Dot Shop Everyday Helpers Category, you will find numerous examples of products whose design is based on functionality. Whether they are little helpers that allow you to find lost keys (the practical Key Clip by Bobino) or tools that ensure cables won’t get tangled up (the Cord Wrap cable holder by Bobino is the perfect answer) – they not only offer an impressive aesthetic appearance, but also practical functionality combined with appealing design.
Truly good design is also kind to Nature – environmental compatibility
One consideration that is gaining importance in the world of design is environmental compatibility. Mankind is becoming increasingly aware that resources are not limitless and understands that the world needs to live and act in such a way that it protects its resources. In this regard, design can also make a difference and play the role of a pioneer, employing creative potential to find ways of developing products that use resources in a responsible way. One solution is regional production as demonstrated by the award-winning multifunctional Design strip Schlüsselbrett.ch of 2015. This type of production reduces emissions thanks to the short distances involved and it creates local employment opportunities.
Another option is to raise the ecological awareness of the end user by making environmentally-friendly habits easier and more appealing: The Totem waste-separation system by Joseph & Joseph consistently pursues this aim and not only turns waste separation into child’s play, but also offers numerous other design benefits such as its space-saving attributes and neutralisation of unpleasant odours.
Then, of course, there is the premium class of sustainable products: those with a socially responsible production method using particularly environmentally friendly or recycled materials in combination with an attractive appearance. Can Watch by Alchemist Creations can proudly consider itself to be in this category. This unique designer watch, whose back is made from drink cans, is produced by disabled people in a local workshop. Thus it effortlessly combines eco-friendliness with a commitment to society and, in doing so, creates a design product that is not only good looking, but also makes a statement.
Good design is never static
As you can see, design quality can be defined according to strict criteria even if personal taste naturally still has an important role to play. However, good design is never static, but is continually evolving. For expectations change, as can be seen with regard to environmental compatibility for example; an aspect that was not considered very much a few decades ago. Technical elements have also rapidly become more influential over time – a trend which is set to continue in the future. The annual Red Dot Design Yearbook offers an excellent overview of current developments in the design world. Some of the products shown, that have won the Red Dot Design Award, have also found their way into the Red Dot Shop. Visit us and dip into the fascinating world of outstanding design.
Keep on enjoying excellent design.
Posted on 25.07.2015