In the first few minutes of Objectified by Gary Hustwit, I retained a prominent quote that could characterize most any design. In Henry Ford’s words, “Every object tells a story if you know how to read it.” The improvement and modifying of tools, house-ware, and helpful every-day products whose current form and design we take for granted is a constant and unceasing process. The development of each invention or object is an untold story of the ideas, experimenting, and tweaking that went into each design. The new challenge is to design something that gets better with use instead of degrading with it.
There were a lot of interesting thought processes that I noticed throughout the short film. First was the mapping out of pressure points on the hand effected by using pliers and garden sheers. The industrial designers tested popular versions of the products themselves to determine how to make the handles more comfortable and easier to grip while in use. The “Japanese toothpick” made me laugh, because it was said that the piece on the end was to be broken off to signify use or to use as a stand for the pick itself. Apparently, a lot of people will take a chance with using a toothpick they just found sitting ominously on a table. One man pointed out that “cars have a face” and must appeal emotionally to potential buyers. His explanation of the buyers’ need to put motion into a stationary object made me think about why people buy the certain versions of things they do. They must picture themselves using the product and bringing it to life. The first laptop every produced had a self-eject lever just in case a pencil ever rolled into the crack between each compartment. A lot of experimentation with a prototype must have went into the manufacturing of the laptop for someone to notice and remedy this problem. The same implementation of trial and error occurred with the bag with a sturdy, shoe-like bottom. I’ve always excepted this as a characteristic of a bag, not a problem with its design. This is what the designers in the movie pointed out–people do not realize that something can be improved unit the next best thing is introduced. We have surpassed the age of analog products and encountered new era, innovative technology; humans can no longer assume the use of any product by simply examining it and its shape. This came with the birth of designers who were more “interested in mass communication than mass production”.