Form over function is not the way forward

In respect to what defines a well-designed product, I must agree with Lee Carnihan (Letters, DW 9 August) on the pink vacuum cleaner as shown at the New Designers exhibition, and blow raspberries at Anne Sinclair’s airy-fairy blather about impressive visual and technical input. Does Ms Sinclair know the difference between styling and designing? It appears not.

Surprisingly, Lynda Relph-Knight does. In her comment (DW 9 August), she extolled the product designer as someone who is “likely to work to a brief with very real commercial constraints laid down by the client”.

Quite so. Shame Ms Relph-Knight was not judging in the place of Ms Sinclair, who has still to explain where the distinct technical merits of this particular award-winning device lay. And besides, where does beauty reside, but only in the eye of the beholder?

Visuals, no matter how “stunning”, do not make a design, and Mr Carnihan is quite right to point this out. I recall how one of my early designs was described as being visually rather interesting by someone who should have known better (it was not intended as a compliment). However, guess who had to correct a certain company’s lack of expertise in product design when a particular visually interesting creation was found to be unmanufacturable?

I’ve no gripe against stylists – just don’t call them designers.

Andrew Jackson

Toucan Product Design

Sandhurst

Berkshire GU47 9BP

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