11 April 2011
what makes timeless design
i've been thinking a lot about planned obsolescence lately. the more i think about it the more it makes sense that products need to be as timeless as possible. what a great feeling to have a product that gets better with time! while driving i've noticed a lot of cars and how they reflect their planned obsolescence... here are a few of my insights:
-price has little to do with timelessness. i've seen timeless cars in all price ranges. the idea of something more expensive lasting for longer is actually a myth, at least in terms of cars... take a look at audi: expensive cars... cool cars... cars that have face-lifts way too often. i have to admit* that bmw does a better job at designing cars that don't look old after three years. [*=i'm not a big fan of bmw and i prefer audi's clean lines]
-most (current) timeless cars are niche cars: new bettle, element, prius, mini, jeep, mercedes g-glass... all niche cars that show little changes as they evolve. does that mean that timeless design needs to be bold and unique?
-timeless/niche cars have a hard time surviving: i always wanted a new beettle... too bad because they have been discontinued. i'm glad that i had an element at some point because they will stop making them this year. it sort of makes me wonder which are the new contenders for timeless cars...
-mainstream cars are not good candidates for timelessness... camry, civic, santa fe, c-class... they have been around for long (some more than others) but they have to play the "why be you when you can be new" game in order to survive.
this last insight drove me to a scary thought... does that mean that mainstream design cannot be timeless design? i mean, take a look at target*: new cool products for every season, which means clearance bins filled with christmas products because valentine's products need the shelves now, followed by easter products, summer products, fall products, halloween products and then christmas products again (not the same products from last year... that would be so last year). i will keep thinking more about this because i don't want to accept that timeless design and mainstream design do not go hand in hand. that would a scary, scary reality. [*i tend to go off tangents frequently, but i like to think that it makes for more interesting narratives]