hairylunch (hairylunch) wrote,


I just got done watching Objectified, a movie described as "a feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them."  An abridged version is apparently going to be on PBS this Tuesday (24 Nov), and I'd highly recommend trying to watch it (or Tivo it or whatever the kids do these days).  It's by the same director who did Helvetica.  For some reason I really liked Objectified, but Helvetica (which focuses on typography) didn't do much for me.  On the other hand, having seen both, I was able to appreciate the tongue in cheek reference to the prior work when a bunch of designers are looking at a digital layup, and one of them asks "Is that Helvetica?"  On a complete aside, there was a great piece in the NY Times about font geeks posted last week.

Objectified features a lot of the expected players: Jonathan Ive, numerous staffers of IDEO, members of Smart Design, etc.  I think one reason I like this more than Helvetica was that as an engineer, it's easier to relate to much of the design decisions.  Ive spends a fair amount of time talking about the original iMac being designed around the CRT, and the Air being an exercise in minimalism as well as how to engineer everything down to it's simplest, seeming to channel Antoinè De Saint-Exupéry, and his famous quotation:
A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
The bit on Smart Design focuses on their work on the Oxo Swivel Peeler (I have a bit of bias here as I tend to really like the Oxo Good Grips products).  

The part I like about the IDEO team is that it shows a brainstorming session, and how they start with the challenge of reducing the waste from toothbrushes (interesting infographic in the background about an adult going through 186 toothbrushes, some large number of toothpaste tubes, etc), and end up with completely off the wall ideas (mani, pedi, toothi or Girl Scouts selling special paste and floss).  The brainstorming scenes are excellent examples of good brainstorming, showing fluency, no judgement, affirmation for new ideas, piggybacking, etc.  (I actually just wrote an email to a Destination Imagination listserv raving about how this could be used as a teaching tool.)

Total geek film, but I'd highly recommend it to any design geeks out there.
Tags: nablopomo

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