Why do bland designs, whether it be cars or furniture or tech gadgets etc., tend to age better than striking adventurous designs which were more loved when they came out?


Why do bland designs, whether it be cars or furniture or tech gadgets etc., tend to age better than striking adventurous designs which were more loved when they came out?

In: 56

Adventurous designs are made to show off. They’re mostly made on paper and, in a lot of cases, hand-made as concept pieces meant for shows. The point is to do something to shock you, not to be practical, and they may not be made in a way that makes them robust. In other words, if you try to use whatever it is in daily life it may not last very long. They also stick out. If you fill a room with 8 different things that are all meant to be shocking and adventurous, you don’t usually end up with a cohesive or pleasant sense that somebody designed the room or that things belong. It only works if the theme you’re going for is “a museum”.

Bland designs tend to be what we get when people focus on practicality. They don’t have extra parts they don’t need, and the parts they do have are more likely to fit together well. The objects tend to be robust and last longer. The simpler designs mean they are easier to mass produce which means they are cheaper even if they are made of sturdy materials. Since they aren’t meant to be striking or stick out, it’s easier to put a lot of them in a space and make it look cohesive and well-planned.

Most anything nowadays is designed in such a way to appeal to the widest range possible of people, cast as wide a net as possible as it were.

The more variety of people the design can appeal to, the longer it tends to stay around and only changes when it needs to be changed, or changed gradually over time.

More striking or adventurous designs of any sort really only appeal to a smaller number of people and thus are less likely to hang around long enough to become “mainstream”

Sorry but I would say quite the opposite is true.

Bland design is always bland and will never hold up. Compare the average furniture from the 80s with the striking Ettore Sottsass/Memphis designs. A 90s Ford with a 90s Ferrari. The iPod with a knock-off product of the time.

Good, daring design will will always age better. It might not stay trendy but there will always be someone interested in it.

I believe you are mixing up the “actual design” and “no effort design”.

Design with moderation will put many thoughts behind the user experience and functionality. They won’t look too striking but it’s usually well thought through hence appreciated for long period time.

No effort design will be a knock off design that functions well enough while not looking horrible at a glance. They can have either bland or striking appearance but most often unoriginal. They will be discarded quickly as soon as the owner loose interest or it breaks.

Striking design is often made by design team who doesn’t communicate well with engineers. But it’s not always the case. Some brand image depends on making statement by design thus forced to push out striking designs continuously. Sometimes striking design does get appreciated for long time. So it’s not really about if it’s striking or not.

In the case of cars, bland designs tend to be the best way to balance fuel economy and pedestrian safety laws. Those sweet wings and other bold design features tend to create drag, and those cool exposed bumpers and bold front and hood desings tended to push pedestrians under the car rather than onto the hood.