Jonathan Ive on 3D Printing & Marc Newson on Democratisation of Design

Jonathan Ive has blamed the rise of rapid prototyping for distancing designers from the physical design process.
Speaking to Design Week at last week’s premiere of Gary Hustwit’s film Objectified, Ive expressed nostalgia for the days before rapid prototyping.
‘When we started out we made all our own models. Just pressing “print” is an obstacle to designers being close to the materials and the object. There is a lot of lousy design,’ he said.
Ive also attributed the ‘awful arbitrariness of form’ to technological advances on electronic products.
‘Form being divorced from a product’s function is a huge and incredible challenge for design,’ said Apple’s senior vice-president of industrial design.

Meanwhile Marc Newson attacked the use of focus groups in developing products, branding them “ridiculous” and claiming that he lacks faith “in consumer’s ability to know what they want”. Also saying “Democratisation ultimately pollutes design”.

Although there is validity for what Ive is saying in so much can be learnt through touch, both he and Marc are talking from a privileged viewpoint where they have instant access to tools of prototyping and production. This, along with the power to realize their designs through their weight in the industry is a rare opportunity, to deny that access, and even input to others is a kinda egotistical.

via Design Week

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Design is like fashion, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Look back at designs that Jonathan himself made 10 years ago, some look like crap compared to what he himself is making today and I bet it will be the same looking back at today with tomorrows perspectives.

Design is just too subjective a thing to try to chase as it changes constantly. What was once considered “cool” usually doesn’t last more than a few years except for extremely rare instances.

Jon – Create Unique Memories

This is absurd; this is just confusion over the word “design”. Amateurs acting like engineers- and expecting their work to have the same properties that a design would have if properly engineered- is going to lead to problems, this is true. But don’t mix this up with aesthetics hate-isms.

– Bryan

Designers learn to use different toos at different stages in the design process and for specific effect and interaction. Part of their professionalism is therefore about selecting what is best, for the work in hand (playing/exploring, communicating intent to colleagues/client, testing, etc) and also for the way that particular designer thinks. And this maybe through their hands as they physically make a model. so I take Jonathan Ive’s comments as interesting and provocative to keep us thinking and discussing how and why. I have a vested interest in this area of discussion as we are designing such a tool (for the early concept generation stage) and using crowd sourcing to develop it the way designers and applied artists would want it to work for them. This does not mean that what we are doing is not innovative

To continue…..

Marc Newson’s comment that he lacks faith ‘in consumer’s ability to know what they want’ is so general that it is meaningless. Targeting the right groups of people for their views can be a valuable tool and I agree that his comment ‘Democratisation ultimately pollutes design’ is very arrogant as he is now in a very privileged position. Perhaps it is his very strong self belief in his design talent, telling us what we should desire that appeals to the majority that puts him into this elevated position. So its our fault!

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