Designing the Difference

Throughout history brands have used design to set themselves apart.

Think of Penguin Classics who incorporated design as a core part of the offering, long before it was fashionable to do so.

In more recent years design has been used to elevate mass market offerings from being perceived as simply cheap. The masters of this in the US are Target and from Europe Ikea have used retail and product design to make relatively cheap furniture a statement of modern urban living.

But now brands are taking design a step further to create a totally unique experience. The Chocolate Research Facility from Singapore had ditched all the swiss luxury chocolate cues and replaced them with funky packaging design to create a very curious chocolate experience.

Design has even cropped up in a very unexpected place, the pharma aisle!
Help-i-need-help from New York have used design to refresh and simplify everyday remedies from headaches to cuts and bruises. Ofcourse their refreshing attitude to pain also helps promote their brand.

Whether design serves sensory or practicial purposes Design has always been and will always be about creating better human experiences.

While on a recent trip to Malaysia it seemed I was surrounded by things in the world of travel that were in dire need of some fresh design thinking.

1) Hotel Bedside Telephone

This one completely dumbfounds me, how could anyone design a phone so complex and secondly how could a Hotel Manager be so stupid as to buy such a useless object?

After trying for 15 minutes to discover how to call the front desk, I gave up and called ROOM SERVICE, the only button listed on the phone.

Just way too many buttons to figure out! And this is true of telephones designed for the business world in general. Too complex.

2) The Airline Safety Instructions
Now this is a tricky one, the whole inflatable life jacket thing is kinda strange, most of us will never get to use one and there are few occasions in case of an air emergency that they will make the difference between life and death. But nonetheless they are mandatory.

But why make them so complicated? I came across this cartoon trying to explain how to inflate a life jacket. Its laughable! Surely in an emergency none of us will know how to use these life jackets, a more idiot and emergency proof design is definitely in order.
3) The Boarding Pass
Being someone of good eyesight I never thought of the standard boarding pass as a poorly designed article.

After experiencing the frustrating design of Delta Airline’s boarding pass, Tylern Thompson got to work sketching his own versions.

Take a look at the original boarding pass and Tylern’s improved version.

Definitely a case of Design making a difference!