A Look at Three Twos: Part I

In the following posts, I will be taking a quick look at a pair of items in separate categories, examining what I like and dislike about the way they are designed. This post will be about Physical Products.

Liked Product: The Post-It

Ah, the good ol’ Post-It note, ever faithful companion to designers. Invented by Arthur Fry in 1977, it’s a testimony to good design that the humble Post-It note has survived for nearly 40 years with no significant changes.

Even with the rise of project tracking apps like Trello, the ubiquity of the common Post-It is obvious. It remains a frequent sight in many startup meeting rooms and office windows.

Sometimes, even as art.

Design Takeaways:

  • Simple, timeless design — Square, adhesive strip.
  • Aims to solve one thing — Solves it elegantly.
  • Usage sparks creativity — Being easily removed, moved around and combined with different colours sparks innovation.

Disliked Product: ‘Modern’ Packaging Techniques

Modern packaging methods leaves much to be desired — it’s so bad, an entire wikipedia entry was written on the interminable rage that they inspire in many consumers.

Clamshells, blisterproof, vacuum-seals — these are various packaging techniques invented to counter the threat of shoplifting, while at the same time confounding actual product purchasers.

I’m getting angry just looking at this.

Design Takeaways:

  • Overdesigned — To the point where users are frustrated. An online ‘how-to’ guide recommends having a can opener handy. Just… no.
  • Solves what it sets out to solve, but creates a whole host of problems otherwise… Or does it? Shoplifting continues to be an issue, with thieves simply avoiding tampering with the product in-store instead.
  • Compromises User Safety — A definite no-no. Sources claim that “6,500 emergency room visits (were) related to plastic packaging in 2004.”

In the next post, I will be looking at two websites. Stay tuned :)