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What is Great Design?

29/05/2014

What is Great Design?

What is Great Design?

Ask as many people as you like and you will get as many different replies with, perhaps some common occurrences – The Tube Map, Paperclip, Anglepoise Lamp, InterCity 125 High Speed Train and, more recently, anything ‘i’.

So, on the basis that we will all agree to disagree, here are a few of our recent favourites.

Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm.

Nest Smoke Alarm 300x194The combining of these two lifesaving functions into one unit is worthy of mention, but Nest have not stopped there.

They have addressed the shortcomings of the existing products, with false alarm warning, battery status, spoken warning, remote messaging and night time guide light. All of this helps to increase its effectiveness by increasing user confidence and by designing it with sophistication and exquisite detailing, it stops becoming a product you hide away and potentially ignore, allowing it to fulfil its essential functions.

Elevenplus Sound1 Speaker.

Elevenplus1For use with any Bluetooth enabled portable devices, these speakers have been designed to complement and enhance mobile devices.

Magnets embedded in the speakers enable the two units to join into a single piece for storage in the included pouch or moving about, and when not in use the cables are stored in the bottom of the speakers. The bottom edge of the speaker is cut at an angle, allowing them to be tilted to project the sound at the optimal angle. Beautifully detailed they make a fine companion to the ubiquitous mobile device.

iFlash One Bicycle Lights.

iFlash 300x300With a new Danish law requiring cyclists to attach their lights securely rather than dangling off the frame, design house KiBiSi came up with the iFlash.

Using magnets for easy fastening, they click onto a magnetic base permanently attached to the bike, and that connection also switches them. Opposing magnets ensures correct positioning of each unit on the bike. When not in use the magnets pair the front and rear unit together in an easy to store compact object. In flashing light mode, battery life of 60 hours can be expected.

The Mu Smartphone Charger. 

Mu SmartphoneWith the products they are attached to getting ever smaller, the size of the UK plug was becoming incompatible with todays mobile devices.

Based upon the Folding Plug design concept, the Mu Smartphone Charger folds flat for storage reducing its size by 70%. By rotating the conductive pins in-line with the earth pin, which are all then enclosed behind two folding wings, the Mu takes the everyday plug and using inventive design and fine engineering, updates a device suitable for todays mobile world.

Gill Ultrasonic Fuel Flow Meter.

Fuel Flow Meter ClipCertified by the FIA for the 2014 Formula 1 season, this sensor has been designed to withstand extreme levels of heat and vibration.

Using ultrasonic flow measurement technology with no moving parts within the flow path, the bi-directional sensor can measure flow rates of up to 8000ml/min, and with its newly developed electronic platform , these flow rates can be measured at a frequency of 1KHz. Additionally it can also detect flow direction, fuel temperature and cumulative usage. 

What links all these products?

To us they are all examples of great design. None of them have created anything new, they are all in mature markets, but what the designers have done is not accept the norm and create a derivative version. They have taken that step back, examined the products on the market, analysed their strengths and weaknesses, studied new technologies available and thought about how the users will use the product, how it can work better, how it can respond to the need of the user, and to fulfil that need in an innovative, creative and inspiring way.

Images provided by NestKibisiElevenplus and MU

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