Join Gary Hustwit for an in-depth discussion in this video Smart Design, part of Objectified.
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We work as consultants, which means we work with a lot of different companies in a lot of different fields. But really, our common interest is in understanding people, and what their needs are. So if you start to think, well really, what these guys do as consultants is focus on people, then it's easy to think about what's needed design-wise in the kitchen, or in the hospital, or in the car. We have clients coming to us and saying, here's our average customer, for instance, female, she's 30 or 40 years old, she has 2.3 kids, and we listen politely and say, well that's great, but, we don't care about that person.
What we really need to do to design is look at the extremes, the weakest, or the person with arthritis, or the athlete, or the strongest or the fastest person, because if we understand what the extremes are, the middle will take care of itself. It's actually things I haven't seen in a thousand years. - Tried to use less material, like here's one that's hollow inside.
A good friend of mine, Sam Barber, he was vacationing with his wife Betsy. I got a phone call one night, he was so excited he said he couldn't sleep, and what he was excited about, is he had been cooking dinner with Betsy, and she was making an apple tart, and she was complaining about the peeler, that it was hurting her hands, and she had arthritis, and she just couldn't hang onto it, and it hit Sam at that moment, that, here's a product that nobody's really thought about.
- And the thought was, well, we can make it work for people with arthritis, could be good for everybody. - We knew that there had to be a bigger handle, you know, kids have big crayons because they're easier to hold onto. It's the same thing for somebody that might not have full mobility in their hand, they need something a little bit larger, that's a little easier to grip with a little bit less force, so we did a lot of studies around the shape of the handle, the size of it, to come up with that size that would be perfect for everybody. - What eventually we found, a rubberized bicycle grip, and we basically did this.
So, it really goes through many many more iterations than you would think to do a handle that's relatively simple in the end. - One thing with the hand pruners, you have this constant friction happening when you're closing it. - But if you hold onto it, I feel like here's the spot that really hurts, this is the biggest pressure point for me. - This is really in this area, on all four fingers, you have friction.
So when we start out doing a project, looking at these different tools, to understand really where, how we can design a better experience for someone ergonomically. So really, what we did here was just to map it out when we did the exercise with the glove, and understanding where the pressure points are, and when we go into this process of developing these models, some of it is... One thing we realized with this model, if you compare it with other hedge shears, a lot of them just have a straight handle.
You can't, for example, you don't have any control over the weight, so if you're cutting far down, it means that you have to squeeze harder to hold the tool in place, otherwise, it's gonna slide out of your hands. So, with sculpting this handle area, it locks your hand around this form, so you have to squeeze less, so you have a really secure grip. - We're really at the final stages of our design here, where we put them into a place where we can control them much more closely to get them ready for manufacture, and that is known as CAD, or Computer Aided Design.
It's very important that we constantly are verifying our CAD with physical models. Once you get into that, we use a set of technologies that are called Rapid Prototyping. So we can really finely control the ergonomics of these parts. These are the two halves that come out of the machine. You can glue them together to make an entire handle, and attach them to prototypes such as this, so we can really go out and feel the comfort, and work with it, and make sure that our CAD model really represents our design intention.
- The way we think of design is, let's put great design into everyday things, and understand how to make these gadgets perform better. - That's what we're really always looking for, whenever we design, are ways we can improve the way people do things, or improve their daily life, without them really even knowing it or thinking about it.
Objectified is a documentary about industrial design; it's about the manufactured objects we surround ourselves with, and the people who make them. Gary Hustwit, the director of Helvetica, talks with Dieter Rams, Marc Newson, Jonathan Ive, and other renowned designers behind some of the world's most iconic products. lynda.com is proud to offer this film to our members, along with over one hour of online-exclusive bonus movies.