Sunday, September 6, 2009

Japanese Industrial Design

Reading about the new Mac OS – how it’s a lot of under-the-hood improvements but not many sexy new features – I got thinking about this from Wired, September 2001:
“In Japanese design, every little part, every little line, every little button is well thought-out. It’s as if each element is saying, ‘I am a part of this machine and I have to do my job, too, no matter how small.’ Next year’s model may not seem new, but it’s improved. And it’s not just consumer electronics. Look at a company like Honda. They’ll make a convertible sports coupe that could eat a Porsche Boxster alive on the racetrack, but it will look like a slightly pointy Civic. As a culture they’re not necessarily choosing to innovate: They choose to perfect.”

Gray Holland is part of the brain trust at frog design, the firm responsible for everything from Apple’s early look and feel to the new Ford Th!nk, an all-electric concept vehicle.
Eight years later it still seems to be true.

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