Principle No. 5 — Micro Consideration

For the past year, Naoto Fukasawa has been busy attending different Muji events, sharing the concept of “micro consideration.” This is important as it describes the level of detail in which how Muji products are taken into consideration of people’s lifestyles. To name a few, Naoto Fukasawa is one of the few designers who really pay attention to details. To him, no detail is too small. While this may seem obvious, I only found a handful of companies that would take the extra mile — just to make a better quality product. For consumers, the design intentions and details may not be as apparent; however, I would argue that this is what makes a product successful. Part of industrial designer’s role is to simplify product so that consumers can focus on using the product, and thus elevating the user experience. The act of “simplifying” a product doesn’t reduce the product’s capability, instead, it enables the user to do better, and more complex work. Good design eliminates frustration. As Naoto Fukasawa once said, “If small problems indicated by discontinuity in a behaviour are resolved, then everything runs smoothly once again.”

*will explain more in-depth in future posts

"Do you recall experiencing so many micro considerations?"

Principle No. 4 — Sustainability

Designing a product from concept to production is not a linear path, it has to go through multiple steps and iterations until it has reached the desired goal. Out of the many aspects of the design process, there are two that are often overlooked; sustainability and end-of-life-cycle. As industrial designers, we're not only responsible for creating a product but also the end of a product's life cycle. We live in a closed system where resources are limited, and we're using them faster than nature can replenish itself. It's unfortunate that the whole cycle is neglected. On the surface level, most material/product are recyclable; however, there's always different burdens involved for recycling. For example, paper is a great material as it is flat, thin, diverse usage, as well as recyclable — But what is involved in paper's recycling process? Recycling paper requires a lot of water, which creates water waste as a byproduct of the recycling process. Another aspect that people tend to forget is the ink printed on papers. Printing ink can contain pigment, defoamer, surfactant, resin/polymer, wax, solubilizer, antioxidant, and other additives. When printed papers get recycled, those chemicals are released into the water and environment. Modern recycling process is not perfect, and it requires designers, engineers and industry leaders to join forces and create a better standard, similar to Apple's recent commitment. Currently, the leading organization advocating for sustainability is Cradle to Cradle. The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute is a non-profit organization that educates and empowers manufacturers of consumer products to become a positive force for society and the environment, helping to bring about a new industrial revolution. I always design with sustainability in mind as their process helps us analyze, understand and shift the burden of product — projects I've worked on that best demonstrates are MetroWay and Intention. The road to reach the ultimate sustainable goal may be long, but the process will only get better and we'll able to reach it eventually. By truly understand the cause and effects of sustainability, we can design more effectively for the world and design products that are cradle-to-cradle instead of cradle-to-grave.


Principle No. 3 — Manufacturing


“Form follows function” This is probably one of the most common phrases that people hear about design. Although the statement is true in some cases, it has also brought negative effects to designers. Very often, designers who follow that statement blindly could never explain to me how their design would be manufactured or maintained. As a result, they always push the responsibility to mechanical engineers. One of the biggest thing that made industrial designers stood out when compared to other design majors is the manufacturing aspects. We don't have to be the best engineer or innovate new machines, but we need to be knowledgeable enough to communicate with factories and mechanical engineers. Personally, I think that being knowledgeable with manufacturing methods and processes can drastically support design decisions, as well as improving design concepts. Some of the best experience I've had as an industrial designer was simply having a discussion with a mechanical engineer and tackling design challenges together — especially on the Intel project WithMe

Principle No. 2 — Material Justice

One of the reasons why I’m interested in industrial design is the manipulation and representation of materials. I’m simply fascinated by materials — what they can do, how they can be created, and how have its uses been changed. By no means am I trained as a mechanical engineer, but understanding the basic principles of different materials is part of being an industrial designer. Nowadays, a lot of designers get carried away by features and technical aspects of a product, and using them to justify their design. Although they still conduct their research online, they did it without getting their hands dirty and play with the material. Without play, we can’t fully understand it and know where the limit is. It’s always easy to say it’ll be made in a generic material, but the true challenge is why was the material chosen, how does it accentuate the design, and which specific material is most optimal for it. I believe that materials should be chosen carefully, to the point where it’s obvious and so we can appreciate it.

Principle No. 1 — Good Design

Being a designer has given me a different perspective on objects, materials, and the world that we live in. It’s fascinating how our technology progress at such a fast pace, and it’s a marriage of both design and engineering. One of the few standard question that people asked me was, “What is design?” While there are many good answers, the one that’s the simplest would be Herbert Simon’s “A transformation of existing conditions into preferred ones.” Now that we know what “design” is, how can we consider that the design is “good”? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. But thanks to Apple and Muji, they’ve been persistent on advocating good design for such a long time that it’s safe to say that everyone agrees they produce good work, and people are educated on it too. However, the “good design” culture is still young and it’s at a point where people are not sure how to fully utilise it. If I were to list out all the criteria that make “good design” then it would be a long and boring blog post. Instead, I’ll write multiple blog posts about different products, and explain why I would consider them “good design” or why not. But when in doubt, we can always refer to the design master Dieter Ram’s 10 principles for good design.

Hello World.

Hi everyone, this will be the beginning of my journey into blogging. I've always wanted to write a blog, but I couldn't find the right motivation to propel me into doing it until recently. I'm heavily inspired by Andrew Kim's Minimally Minimal blog, as well as Tony Zhou's Every Frame a Painting youtube channel. This will be a place where I share my thoughts, experience and showcase my design work. I'm committed to blog based on certain principles which will be shared on future blog posts. Thank you for visiting.