Product design – from the Tesla, to the iPhone, to the Nest thermostat, makes life bubble and shine. It’s thrilling to see and touch something new, different, and aesthetically charming.
Remember the last time you bought something just because you wanted it? The cool sizzle of the shape, color, feel, smell, the essence of the thing itself? Product design shapes our experience.
Utility prescribes that you only need one t-shirt, car, corkscrew, or bowl. But the iconography of design is wired to fondle our senses. Design pushes the passion points of desire. Need dissolves before the lust of Want. Women melt and open their wallets at the sight of Jimmy Choo’s glam footwear, while men dig the super-charged profile of a classic Shelby Cobra.
Designers design because they must. They are playful, passionate, detail-oriented shape-shifters who transform abstract craving into luscious reality. Designers are rarely satisfied and always moving on to the next bright thing, unfazed by the status quo. Imagine a world without the populist graphic design of Paula Scher, or Freeman Thomas’s transformation of Audi through his curvaceous TT.
Designers straddle industries and form. Yves Behar says “holistic making” is at the core of his ubiquitous designs in furniture, headsets, computers and fashion. These prolific—forever prototyping—men and women are essential to moving from cult to culture. Color, shape, and style are their crayons. Together, they elevate our lives. Great design is witty and makes us smile. Your senses grandstand and your brain applauds.
That whimsical auto in the photo—yes, a Figaro—is a darling retro concept car that became such a cult hit that Nissan held a lottery for the 20,000 models it made a quarter century ago. You can still find them on the streets in the UK, Ireland, and Southeast Asia, because owners adore the design that Nissan aptly promoted with the slogan “Back to the Future.”