"Whether it makes coffee or drills holes in walls, whether it's a luxury item or a basic model, just about every modern household product is expected to have some style to it. But pretty packaging is not the same as good design and the challenge facing most designers is to bring form and function together.
"Bad design means that ergonomics and functions were not given high enough priority," says Peter Knopp, an industrial designer from Scheyern in southern Germany.
Samples of bad design include mobile phones with tiny buttons or those beautiful kettles whose owners run the risk of burning themselves, if they pick them up clumsily.
"You annoy customers with things like this and destroy a designer's reputation."
"When most people think about design, they just think about styling," says Michael Lanz of designafairs in Munich, one of Germany's largest independent design agencies. But design is really the sum of a product's parts and the product has to be functional and easy to use.
"All needs have to be met," explains Lanz.
"Design should make technology understandable and accessible. It should ensure that people can make use of devices," explains Gerd E. Wilsdorf, chief designer for Siemens Electronic Devices in Munich.
The ultimate goal is to make a product that can be used without instructions - such as switches or displays which direct a user. Industry insiders call such an achievement intuitive handling.
Design has lost the elitist image, says Oliver Schmid of Politur, a trend research company in Berlin and is now fundamental when buying a hair dryer, mixer or drill.
"The focus on style is not limited to designer products. It can apply to items from the supermarket or a coffee shop." (Continued via Europe World) [Ergonomics Resources]