Aesthetics are meaningless unless they are accompanied by innovation -James Dyson

I’ve previously blogged about the most insightful and creative inventor James Dyson. Here is an article by him, “Industry will thrive if we focus on good design“. Here is an excerpt, [K: emphasis mine]

For British design to prosper, we need to think long term. We can’t expect miracles; design is a slow (often painfully so) process of trial and error. “Eureka” moments are few and far between. It took 5127 prototypes before I produced the first vacuum cleaner that didn’t clog or lose suction. Each was a smaller piece in a larger design puzzle. It takes time, patience and money to bring innovation to life.

Good design is all about getting it just right. Our latest invention, the Dyson Airblade™ hand dryer, took three years of research, development and testing until we were happy with it. Every aspect of the design has to be perfect. There can be no cutting corners.

It is not enough to hang our hopes on superfluous gimmicks or tarted-up versions of perfunctory designs: aesthetics are meaningless unless they are accompanied by innovation. For example, the current trend for retro styling is counter-productive. British design should be looking to the future not recreating the past. That’s not to say good design should forgo visual zest. But aesthetics should be a by-product of the design, not the other way around.

Everything on a Dyson vacuum cleaner has a purpose. Its distinctive look is determined by the functionality first and foremost. The clear bin isn’t an artistic statement. It just shows you when you need to empty it. There is no extraneous window-dressing. Purpose prevails.

By the way, here is a link to James’ Dyson School of Design and Innovation in UK (opening in 2008).

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