Why your lemon-squeezer looks gorgeous and mine works properly

In my view, the term “design” is in our present-day society interpreted in a highly distorted manner. Phrases like “designer furniture” are widely used in order to lend added value to a product. A “designer lemon-squeezer” is unbeatable, and every other lemon-squeezer is expected to make obeisance to it.

So why doesn’t the phrase “designer product” make any sense nonetheless?

The term “design” is defined as giving shape to an object. If we postulate that every object has a shape, then every piece of furniture would qualify as “designer furniture”. Does the manufacturer mean, perhaps, that a qualified designer has given the piece of furniture its shape. Then without a doubt every car-owner would have a “designer car”.

In order to escape this quandary we deploy the term “styling”. This denotes merely prettifying a product so as to boost its sales. Raymond Loewy is a representative of styling. In the USA of the 1930s, during the Great Depression, he simply gave the Coca-Cola bottle the shape of a woman’s body. And lo and behold, it sold better than ever before.

If you own a “designer lemon-squeezer”, then when you bought it you were doubtless very taken with it. You found it visually appealing, which impelled you to purchase it. But that doesn’t mean that you’re satisfied with the styled product. To ensure that, the manufacturers should preferably prioritise “design”.

The product doesn’t only have to look good thanks to “styling”, it also has to be rendered comprehensible for the user through “design”. The German designer Dieter Rams has expressed this brilliantly in his 10 theses, one of which says: “Good design makes a product easy to use.”

And that’s how it is with lemon-squeezers as well. They have to look good, and they have to function properly. And this will be best achieved if the lemon pips don’t fall into the glass and the squeezer doesn’t fall over while you’re using it.


(image source: Styling, Design)