A mug from IEKA provoke the thought in design

My coffee cup was broken by accident so I bought a new mug from IEKA last week.

This cup costs USD$0.45 each,it is narrow and the bottom is a bit like a funnel.

I am not sure if there is a same coffee cup in your local shop, but is really very popular, cheap and occupy 11% more market share than normal cylinder shape cup. So I studied and reflected on this design case with reference to friends and internet.

What are the criteria for good design in the eyes of top designers? How to use design to move people’s hearts?

Design is not so-called highly striking appearance, nor is it a whimsy, but a set of mind-reading techniques. At its core, it is clear, understand and meet people’s needs to make people’s lives better.

I disassembled it into three specific dimensions, and I called it the “three iron laws” of good design.

NO 1:Design to solve problems

Now, imagine you have two cups in front of you, one is white porcelain, cylindrical, with a handle; the other is the most common IKEA porcelain cup, with a large mouth and a small bottom, like a funnel. I will now use these two simple cups as examples to show you how the design solves the problem.

The first cup. This most common white porcelain cup has only one handle, without any patterns or special shapes. Is it a good design?

Many friends said “No”. Indeed, this looks like an ordinary cup, it won’t change color, it can’t keep warm, and it can’t make coffee taste good.Then why does it exist?

OK, now I’ll take you to take a closer look at this cup.

The mouth of the cup is round instead of square, and it fits easily to the lips when drinking. The handle of the cup has a certain friction, and it is not easy to fall off. The capacity of the cup is neither too large nor too small. If its capacity is too small, not be convenient to drink enough water. Too large, the water is easy to cool.(Drinking hot water maybe a region habit as I went to European&American several times, surprised to see that local people usually likes drinking cool water.)What’s more, made with a certain thickness, it will not become hot immediately when poured into boiling water.

These are all its design points.

Don’t look at this cup as ordinary, but use the “problem solving”standard to measure it. Although it is not outstanding, it must be qualified. These designs are often overlooked. Many so-called good-looking and creative cups, in order to pursue the shape, it is not convenient to drink water. In my opinion, it is a failed design.

The second example is the classic IKEA mug,USD0.45 each set.Why is this cup classic? The biggest reason is not good-looking, the shape of the funnel is not good-looking; it is not easy to use, its handle is designed to be very small, can only reach one finger, and it is shorter than the average mug.

So why can it become a classic design?

Because the design solves the cost problem.

You see, the upper and lower widths are narrower, so that they can be stacked one on top of the other when packing. The cup is designed to be short because this height is just enough to fill the entire container tightly.

Since the birth of this mug, it has undergone a total of three improvements. According to the design of the first version, more than 800 cups can be placed on a container pallet. Now this version can place more than 2000 cups, which improves the light transportation efficiency. More than doubled, logistics costs were reduced by 60%.

The problem of reducing costs is always a business issueHowever, most companies are thinking about how to obtain cheaper raw materials, how to find closer purchasing places, how to develop more efficient production machines and assembly lines, and so on. But IKEA uses design, and this advantage comes precisely because they really understand the purpose of design, that is, to solve problems.

As a reminder, the so-called “creative” is not design itself, it is only a by-product of the problem solving process. When a designer’s insight into a problem is accurate enough and he finds a suitable way to solve it, amazing ideas emerge.

NO2: Good design requires communication.

Designing to solve problems for people, then the next thing is how to transfer its intentions to people.

For example, a chair, regardless of its shape and material, must have at least a flat surface that allows people to sit. This plane plays a role in communicating with people, telling people that they can sit. You see, in the mall or in the square, as long as there is a platform, no matter whether it is a seat or not, someone will sit on it. This is determined by the characteristics of the plane itself.

By the same token, when people see the protruding button, they want to press it; when they see the handle, they know that this can be pulled; when they see the small groove, they know that it is used to insert the card. These kinds of things don’t need special explanations, as long as people see them, they will use them out of instinct. This design is to convey accurate meaning in the simplest and least burdensome way, letting people know what to do.

Good design is more effective than speaking. But of course, the product will not speak like a human, but it is expressed by symbols, colors, shapes, and materials.

NO3: Good design moves people’s hearts.

How does design move people? It is to make people have synaesthesia, mobilize people’s original feelings and emotions, and bring good feelings.

Naoto Fukasawa, a well-known Japanese designer, designed a fruity beverage packaging. This kind of packaging box is the kind of common carton, but what we usually see is a straw with a straw next to the box. There are many words on the packaging, right?

But he did not. He removed all the decorations, and the appearance, from color to texture, directly restored the appearance of the fruit. Strawberry juice, the box is the surface of the red strawberry; kiwi juice, the box is the yellow-green, fluffy look of the kiwi peel.

It solves the problem of filling drinks, and the communication ability is particularly strong. No matter people from which country, pick it up, they don’t need any explanation to know what it is.

The most important thing is that it immediately mobilizes all your memories of strawberries and kiwis. This closeness does not require rational judgment. You can see from afar that you can’t wait to drool. Then what is the next step if not to buy ?

There is another particularly classic counterexample. Another well-known brand also makes juice drinks. The original packaging had a big apple on it, and the straw was just inserted into that apple, and it has been selling very well. One day they felt that the packaging was old and wanted to change to a new one. In fact, the changes were not great. Apple was still there, but there were no designs for straws. As a result, guess what, sales dropped by 20%.

The reason is obvious. Although nothing else has changed, it just feels different. The original straw was inserted into the apple to give you a pure, natural feeling. Once the packaging is changed, it becomes an ordinary industrial food. The synaesthesia is broken and the charm is lost.

In this era, emotional factors will become more and more important, and even become the key to the success of design.

why? Industrial technology has developed to the present. A product that achieves its basic functions is already the minimum requirement. This is easy to do, and costs have been greatly reduced. Usable, even durable, is no longer an advanced standard. For a design to be outstanding, it must be exciting, joyful, and comfortable.

Judging with these three iron laws, have you found any good designs or bad designs in life? Please chat in the message area.

Posted in Commodity and life.

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