Beyond Underwear

There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.
— Milton Glaser
eames chairs

eames chairs

In my last blog post, “Let’s Talk Underwear”, I attempted to show the importance of design at a most basic level. If you’re a designer of Ralph Lauren’s notoriety and scale, how do you come into the studio one day and say, “We’re going to design a pair of men’s boxer shorts so amazing it will be worthy of our signature polo player embroidered on the garment.” I guess it’s the attention to detail.

Now, thinking bigger: is there anything we see, use, play with or consume (afterall we are “consumers”) that has not been designed?

Design fascinates me. Because, it is built of some of my favorites things: inspiration, ideas, creativity, motivation, trial, error, success, failure, beauty, function and simplicity.

Design is so simple. That’s why it’s so complicated.
— Paul Rand

In addition to mentioning underwear in the last post, I made a glancing reference to the #2 pencil, specifically the Ticonderogo Dixon. Look at the beauty and complexity of its design! A wooden shaft hollowed and filled with lead, just the right lead to make a #2. Shaped on a lathe and cut to a hexagon so it won’t roll off the desk and comfortable in the hand. Made of wood that can be sharpened extending its use. With an eraser on the other end, because stuff happens.


Let’s think about ultimate design—big C, Creation. Everything we know about the creative process and the inspiration behind it we know from the Creation process. Some will think me narrow-minded because I believe in Divine Creation. Frankly, I see myself as being so open-minded that I believe I am creative because I am made in the image of the Creator. 

There is so much to learn here when you dream on this scale. Let’s take a look at just one element of design: integrity. For certain, one of the elements of great design is integrity. Here’s the test: It is what it purports to be, it delivers what it promises, it is honest and reliable.

How does Creation show the integrity of design and the Designer? Consider a banana. Have you ever peeled a banana and found anything but banana inside? This wonderful, self-packaged, portable fruit is well-designed for a number of reasons, but the one we’re considering right now is its integrity. It promises to be a banana and it is—every single time.

Just a suggestion or two: 1. Have a banana today. 2. Pay attention today to the design of the things that are a part of your life. Imagine the design process of the designer behind it.