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Design Matters: Give Us A Break, Mate!

05/04/2011
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“Good design is a renaissance attitude that combines technology, cognitive science, human need, and beauty, to produce something that the world didn’t know it was missing.” Paola Antonelli

Design Matters: Give Us A Break, Mate.... on those sheer pantyhose that rip and run.

What popular design concepts would you like to change if you could? Are there everyday items you wish to see improved? If you read my blog often, you’d know that I’m not one to vent or kvetch about much. There are things that annoy me, just like everyone else, but I usually hold my tongue. Why? Because If you look around the blogosphere, you’ll find that there are enough people venting; some quite brilliantly too. However, the Daily Post topic for today was, shall we say, irresistible: Pick something that annoys you and redesign how it works. Or in this instance, request a redesign on things we like; even love! 8)

Naturally, the first thing that popped up in my mind was – pantyhose. Why do we continue to buy and wear pantyhose that rips at the bat of an eyelid? I’m sure that manufacturers must have come up with durable designs over the years and are simply not mass marketing them. It still baffles me that women still wear them, and that some of us are willing to keep replenishing our supply of a product that is guaranteed to self-destruct (run) within minutes of purchase…. We need sheer, non-rip designs. Give us a break, mate! 😉

The most innovative designers consciously reject the standard option box and cultivate an appetite for thinking – wrong… Marty Neumeier

Design Matters: Give Us A Break, Mate.... shrinkwrap on CDs and more

Another item that gets to me and makes me scratch my head is the shrink wrap on ….. everything. Well, I can appreciate the way those helicopters (picture above) are wrapped. They look kinda cute, like giant metal cows in bloomers. But, shrink-wrap on CDs and DVDs? I mean, think back to the last time you tried to open one and all the rigmarole and nuisance involved. I’ll take a simple security strip across the top or a good old recycled cardboard sleeve. Yes, there was a time when they came in cardboard and it might be time to revisit that design. Oh, Give Us a break, mate! 8)

Based on the comments/feedback below, we can add packaging to our list. Packaging in general gets a thumbs down for a number of reasons; many are simply either difficult to open or wasteful. We all know that packaging for small electronic items and toys require a pair of scissors to open. Other things we buy, even books, come in oversize boxes with plastic popcorn and shrink wrap tossed in for good measure. Why do we need a degree in engineering to open a cardboard/metal/shrink wrap sealed USB flash drive? Is all that stuff necessary? Why the excess? Who is in charge of making these decisions? Seth Godin has an excellent post on his blog today addressing the question: Who’s responsible for service design? I suggest you read it for some excellent insights. Meanwhile, to the packaging and labeling cartel we say – Give Us a break then, mate! 🙂

The design process, at its best, integrates the aspirations of art, science, and culture.” Jeff Smith

Design Matters: Give Us A Break, Mate.... zero airtight breakfast cereal bags

How about the breakfast cereal bags inside those cardboard boxes? Could someone please place the cereal in airtight, resealable plastic bags? No one wants to open a box of cereal and watch it turn to fluff in a few days or so. It can’t take much to design the reseal portion or would it? We love our cereal crunchy so please redesign the bags…. Give us a simple break on this one too, mate! 8)

“Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose.” Charles Eames

Design Matters: Give Us a Break, Mate.... nail polish that chips

Since we are on a roll here, how about non-chip nail polish? Nothing is more irksome than having your nails done and then within 36 hours, they start to chip and peel… Sure, OPI has a nice new product line that stays on for 3 weeks or so but the colors are limited. I am talking about across the board non chip polish that has a shelf life longer than two days. I know there are fake options but that’s not the focus here. We want easy to use items that give value for the time and money spent procuring them… Capisce? Yes, we need a break here, mate!

Something else that isn’t quite a design issue but was raised by a friend today is the presence of borderline/false Ads… You know, the ones that exaggerate or should we say embellish the truth. How about giving us, the viewing public, interactive ads? We get to give instant feedback on all ads by checking a box that says True, False or Gray Area… You choose or rather, we choose. 8)

If any others come to mind, do share… I’d love to hear about products or things you’d like to see redesigned. If others strike me, I’ll add them too. For now, we’d just say to the manufacturers of the above… Give Us a Break, Mate! 8)
What are your thoughts? Any questions or comments? Please Share!

Positive Motivation Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask or raise questions; especially when the answers could lead to innovation.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: Photo of Shrink wrapped Helicopters via Wikipedia, Pantyhose viaWikipedia, Breakfast cereal via Wikipedia, Nail polish via Wikipedia.

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

24 Comments leave one →
  1. 05/04/2011 11:52 pm

    Brilliant! If you are going to redesign the world would you add a wee device that will automatically pull up anything that shows the crack as in plumbers crack, or thongs?

  2. 06/04/2011 12:06 am

    Good rant, Eliz.

    I haven’t bought a pair of pantyhose since I stopped practicing law ~ 14 years ago. What a relief. 😀

  3. 06/04/2011 1:07 am

    So many things…but I’m remembering non-wrinkle-free shirts that were impossible to iron…thank goodness my husband is retired and no longer has to wear dress shirts. 🙂
    My biggest peeve is the planned obsolescence of so many things: appliances, cars, lightbulbs…when we moved into our first house in 1973, there were several OLD lightbulbs in some of the fixtures. These OLD lightbulbs actually outlasted the newer ones and the ones we replaced the newer ones with! If toasters and lightbulbs and cars were built to last, I guess the companies that manufactured them would go out of business. 🙂

  4. 06/04/2011 1:19 am

    Hello, today I can relate to the nail polish that needs redesign so that it won’t chip off. I hate that.
    They also shrink wrap or what have you out here in the winder on Boats. I mean tons of them. Ours is BLUE. Not white. Oh my!
    I agree with the “light bulbs too” they need to make them last much longer.
    The one they need to fix is Wallets….why? Well, they are designed where you cannot get to the card, or read the card, or they all fall out, or they all stick to it. And, business cards. It’s like pulling teeth to get to the name or to get to the card to pull it out. How many times have I broke a nail or had to dump my purse! I don’t know. 🙂

  5. 06/04/2011 4:08 am

    Definitely shrink wrap…if only it could be redesigned off everything including fruit. Yuk!

    p.s. Great post 🙂

  6. Bree permalink
    06/04/2011 5:36 am

    The pantyhose fiasco is a mystery and the shrink wrap is just a nuisance!
    How about toothpaste tubes; the squeeze function fails often. 🙂
    B

  7. 06/04/2011 5:49 am

    you inspired me to post on my daily blog: on design-as-a-religion

  8. 06/04/2011 9:28 am

    I think packaging in general is out of hand. Have you gotten a book shipped lately? A 9″x7″ book was in a box that could hold 500 of them, filled with plastic bubble wrap. It goes against every common sense rule of being green. Totally unnecessary and ridiculous.
    A tiny computer chip in a heavy plastic case that you need garden shears to open. The list goes on. Packaging needs to be revamped across the board.
    Thanks I feel better now that I got that off my chest! 😉

  9. 06/04/2011 9:41 am

    Ugh, how I hate pantyhoses, indeed they always rip when you put them on but what I hate even more is that they never stay up. After an hour the crotch of the hose is halfway my legs and that is SO annoying! I usually end up wearing shorts of some sort over them but that isn’t ideal either.

    And the nailpolish. You are so right here! I wrote a post on how I always mess up mine a little while ago. The chipping is really annoying 🙁

  10. 06/04/2011 9:50 am

    Off the top of my head and keeping in step with the plastic wrapping, I would have to say it is the item wrapping of hard plastic that you actually need to cut to get into. E.G. electronic items. And another thing, when we get around to that infrastructure upgrade here in the United States, can we please design the roads to accomodate bikes.

  11. 06/04/2011 10:30 am

    I can’t fit my tail into pantyhose so I don’t wear them! Flip tops on cleaning products and toothpaste are really bad because it seems like they always get clogged.

  12. 06/04/2011 3:48 pm

    You made my day Eliz!! I had a good laugh.
    Agree with the comments above, I can add; accommodate every street with walking area for humans.
    I found the cure for my nail polish; I do super multiple thick coats up to 7,max 10 coats starting with base coat then multi coats then sometimes sparkling polish and then seal it on the top with top polish sealer. Two weeks guaranteed stays good on my nails without chipping and my nails are not falling down after, he he.

    Thank you for this great post,
    Terrans
    http://www.pfinusa.blogspot.com

  13. 06/04/2011 3:50 pm

    oooooo good ideas!!

  14. 06/04/2011 4:23 pm

    Love the idea about the resealable cereal bags! There are some products I don’t buy just because of how they are made or packaged.

  15. 06/04/2011 8:04 pm

    Good ideas you have here! I agree with the pantyhose problem wholeheartedly and as a plus size women, I HATE pantyhose already with a passion. Back when I was in college and in a dancing group, we had to wear these special pantyhose tights all the time and they actually last a good while without ripping. The thing I hated about them more than that was everyone else’s tights were these type where you could wear it over your foot or have it stop at your ankle and be barefoot. The plus size dance tights didn’t have that option….so after wearing dance shoes for a performance, all the other girls would slip the hose up to their ankle and throw on flip flops. I would do the same but it was definitely inconvenient wearing hose with flip flops that go through your toes! How I wished that mine were like theirs!

  16. 06/04/2011 8:22 pm

    Ughhhhh! Panty hose… Bleh! When I first saw this prompt, that was the first thing to come to mind. I only wear a pair of tights with a certain pain of boots during the winter; besides those, tights/panty hose are for the birds!!!! Great post Eliz! 🙂 Sorry I’ve been absent in commenting on your wonderful writings… Please know that I am still reading and as always, enjoy every last word. Hopefully after the craft show this weekend, I’ll be back in full action! Take care Eliz! 😀

  17. 06/04/2011 8:59 pm

    I really like the shrinkwrap ! that’s cool. As far as pantyhose hose-I do not wear them anymore then I absolutly have to ! can’t stand them. I opt for the for the sunshime and a good tan. Nail polish, I hate doing my own nails, in a few days I have to re-do, and the broken nails-ugh ! so I opt for gel-nails at our local nail salon-stays on forever! Give me a break mate !! 🙂

  18. 06/04/2011 9:04 pm

    I think we should start a new National position for you to lead. Like the Design General or something. This way you can help cut the silliness out of packaging etc. First to go? How about those rigid plastic covers on toys? Your kids always want you to open them in the car, but unless you happen to have scissors with you, they have to wait. And even then…you end up cutting yourself half of the time.

  19. 06/04/2011 10:11 pm

    How about girdles and bras. If you need a bra–sure–but we all don’t. And girdles–does anyone wear them anymore?

  20. 07/04/2011 6:31 am

    Agree totally on the wrapping on DVD/CDs. Drives me insane. Definitely need non-chip nail polish for that exercise. I get a knife, but that makes popping a new CD into the car stereo a little difficult. Try asking the store clerk to break the seal for you – not a hope!

    Never wear panti-hose so not bothered about them – well, not never, but rarely.

    My biggest gripe is that packaging such as they have on replacement heads for the toothbrush – you just can’t open them. I think I’m on the same wave as Barbara with that.
    Actually, no, my biggest gripe (may not be in the USA) is shrinking car park spaces. Yes, I swear, they are shrinking. I drive a perfectly normal, average, 6 cyclinder sedan. Car parks spaces at airports and supermarkets are just getting smaller and smaller – narrower and shorter. An no, it is not my advancing age or my eyesight!

  21. Bree permalink
    07/04/2011 1:54 pm

    No Jackie, the girdle has been replaced by the spanx and all it imitators.
    My gripe with those body wraps is that they are either impossible to get on, or roll up when you walk.
    What’s with that?
    B

  22. 08/04/2011 10:10 am

    Don’t you remember that infomercial for pantyhose that woud not rip even with sharp knives?? Maybe you girls should try it! lol… Now the cereal bag really makes me nuts!!! It’s the most stupid thing on earth…or the fella who designed it owns an food clips factory. Then he is a genius…

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