May 30, 2023

Over Design is a Trap

Posted on June 2, 2009 by in design

I’ve got to watch myself. I’m a sucker for features or gadgets. I like clips, zippers, pockets, holders and Velcro. The world is full of geek candy like that. But when is enough ‘enough’?
Vintage Zo Bag
I used a vintage bike messenger bag for years — just a bag with a single inner zipperless pocket. So I was understandably excited about the new one, with two zipper pockets inside, a couple of pockets without zippers, a pocket for a cell phone, a place for some pens and two outter pockets — one zippable and one not — and a clip to hold my keys. It also had a couple of detachable reflective flaps that are intended to give me added visablity. I was excited about all this, that is, until I started using the bag.
overdesigned bag
In the old bag, I always knew exactly where to look for things. There were only two places — in the bag or in the pocket — and it was very easy to do that. In the new bag, on the other hand, I can never remember which pocket contains the thing I’m looking for and so time is wasted zipping and unzipping pockets. I end up frustrated because I don’t see what I want. And the detachable flaps are also annoying because I think I’m opening the bag and I’m really detaching a flap. No doubt about it — this bag is over designed. I may end up sewing most of the pockets shut.

Compare these two baby backpack:
Overdesigned baby backpack

vintage baby backpack

While the first one might look better, I assure you, 9 times out of 10 times it’s not

Same with knives:

These classic French Opnel knives:
Opnel Knife

Are way better for cutting pears on a hike then these absurdly over designed ones:
Overdesigned Knife

Okay, that was a joke, but this is not:
Overdesigned knife

I’ll take an Opinel any day.

Lovely by Surprise dvdrip Return to Sender ipod

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