Milan Design Week, What Is Good Design?

From a background of Business theory I have always categorised design into three features; aesthetics, function and cost. A design must be fit for purpose, look good and be an appropriate price for the market it is targeting.

Last week I got the chance to get some real inspiration and insight into the world of design during ‘Milan Design Week’ in Italy. It raised some questions on what the real definition of design is? I shall share some of the cool and creative designs I found at DesignersBlock Exhibition.

King Edison Pendant Lamp Foldability Light Sticker Clock Solidwool Chair

Is Design Quirkiness?

Take the ‘Eccentric British Design’ brand Mineheart . The King Edison Pendant Lamp is a completely brilliant and new idea. A sweet dollhouse chandelier in a traditional King Edison Bulb, mixing two different worlds to create something quirky and innovative.

In a way this quirkiness has come from a combination of two old designs, but combined them in a creative and commercial way.

Is Design Complexity?

Justin Floyd (Solidwool) have designed a new composite material based on sheeps wool, Yes you read that right! Effective research and a passion for design has led to a sustainable product made completely from Sheeps wool and Bio resins.

The kind of product you could stare at for ages and still not fully understand the process, but that is the secret of a good design!

If nando’s told you their secret ingredient they would have an empty restaurant in a matter of days!

Is Design Simplicity?

One of the simplest designs I saw at the fair was Jamie Wolfond’s ‘Sticker Clock’, yet it was also one of my favourites.

This modern piece retails at $10, a good price for a simple product with low costs.

It makes me wonder how much time or thought needs to be spent in a design to make it a good design…

But that’s just it, design is a matter of opinion… so we cannot judge these products solely on these features.

They are not successful for their quirkiness, complexity, or simplicity, but they are successful for their strategy. Sadly this is what a lot of upcoming designers forget, good designs need to be commercial.

Mineheart create quirky eccentric products to target the ‘Upper Class’ where quirkiness is key in order for their audience to pay any price. SolidWool have branded there own material so complex that it cannot be duplicated, giving them their own niche in the material market. While Jamie Woolfond has managed to attract a modern market with simple and affordable designs.

A good designer thinks out of the box, but send a product without a box and it is going to get broken!
A successful designer creates their own box, wraps their product in bubble wrap, every design needs a strategic box to work!

Thanks for reading today’s blog, here are a few more pics of creative ideas from the exhibition!

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