The Difference between Good and Great

Does design need to be exciting to be considered great? Yes, yes it does.

Now when I say it should excite I don’t mean, surprise birthday party or mad roller-coaster kind of exciting- I mean that it should ‘delight’ you, you should find it engaging and interesting and there should be something about it that excites you, at least a little bit!

Nobody really wants boring design. Boring design is like eating Shredded Wheat for breakfast– you do it because it’s practical and good for you, but it will always be a disappointment and you will always look at your bowl wishing it was something else or trying to find something you can add to it to make it that little bit more interesting…

A lot of different things can make design exciting including its aesthetic, how it carries out its function, how its made or sometimes just its function is exciting, like on of those pineapple corer and peelers, that makes an enormous pineapple spring!

Exciting design is of course also very subjective, what I find exciting might mean absolutely nothing to something else. For example I love stationary and so I found the Muji rubber (which I wrote about in another blog) really exciting-others will just see a plain old rubber. Again, I love bright things so something that is brightly coloured is immediately far more exciting to me than something plain, whereas some people live for black and white!

Another example is laser cut wood. For someone who can recognise that a piece of wood has been laser cut, the tell-tale blackened edge can  make something seem exciting but, like before, to someone who isn’t in the know the blackened edge will mean nothing and will just look like an aesthetic choice, and probably not one that will excite them.

I think it’s true to say that nearly every piece of design excites someone, therefore can it really be a criteria for great design given that it applies to so many things?

My answer is yes. There are many things (such as Poundland ball points) that are good design, as in they do the job they were designed for, but that are unexciting and completely uninteresting in any other way. These are the things that can only be considered good and never great.

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