"Good design is in all the things you notice. Great design is in all the things you don’t." – Wim Hovens
It was not by my own volition that a week before my 15th birthday I found myself working afternoons after school at a kiosk for what must have been drastically below minimum wage. In an attempt to instil a good work ethic, my pocket money was cut off and according to my parents, if I wanted a replacement income I could go and find one — and so I did.
After receiving my first pay cheque (cash in hand), I decided to indulge myself in a new wallet to house my earnings, and finally cast away my ever fashionable Billabong Velcro wallet and adjoining chain.
It was shortly after this purchase that I was first confronted with bad design. In an attempt to distance myself from the bulky surfer wallet, I chose a sophisticated leather wallet as a replacement. Blinded by illusions of grandeur and the smell of Italian leather I walked away with what I thought was a mighty upgrade from my surf insignia clad, hook and loop fastened purse. Wasn’t I the fool. It wasn’t until I put my ten remaining dollars into the wallet, that I realised functionality was not the purpose of this item. A wallet not long enough to accommodate cash. To me, this seemed like a serious design flaw. One that the astute design team at Billabong Wallets had not overlooked. And thus my trusty Velcro came back into rotation and remained my staple for many years after.
So, what is good design? Above all good design is functional, if something looks good but does not work as intended then you have failed as a designer. Good design is aesthetic, it draws the eye when required and blends when needed. Good design is intuitive, it understands the user, what the user wants, and functions to accommodate.
In recent years there has been a paradigm shift in the field of design marking significant transformation in the role of a designer. Where once design was a business segment like marketing or finance, it has evolved into an integrated driving force of business. The economic and social importance of design has never been as highly valued as it is today. Design has become a part of every stage of organisations rather than previously where designers were brought in at the end of the process to make things look pretty. Design thinking has become a way for companies to innovate and gain an edge over competitors.
As a designer at Romper, I like to keep in mind my teenage wallet mishap and always make sure functionality, intuitive user experience and aesthetic design drives the way we deliver every project.