Didn’t flying used to be a real thrill? Wasn’t the whole experience incredibly grown-up when we were kids? Wasn’t flying to Spain cooler than having a Rubik’s Cube?
Now we’re longer in the tooth, flying doesn’t seem to have so much to offer, other than an abundance of queuing and digital camera browsing. But are we missing the real beauty of it?
Maybe it’s my obsession with stickers, maybe it’s the abstraction of the airport names, LGW, LHR, LAX, maybe it’s the bold, institutional use of type, or maybe it’s the barcodes that I can’t believe actually work – but however I look at it, I can’t help but be inspired by the baggage tag that appears on my luggage whenever I fly.
In all likelihood it’s a function/form thing – when something so painfully utilitarian goes beyond being practical and becomes aesthetically stunning. Great design is about allowing information to create its own beauty and not the other way around. It’s almost about inciting an accident where form is discovered in the midst of functional monotony.
The ‘baggage tag principle’ is something I keep close on every project, by always allowing the information to do the work for me. It reminds me that beauty is so much more than skin deep – and it reminds me not to grow up just yet.