Articles in #product design


The guys made a depressed impression, or maybe clueless, when I joined them at the bar. They seemed to have all agreed on the fact that something was changing fundamentally – and that it would involve all of them.
But as much as they were in for change, like in all those endless debates with clients and commissioners, the change happening right now was quite something different, and they didn’t had a clue how to deal with the situation: it seemed that their very existence was at stake!

me designer

We all want superstars, supermodels – or an ‘idol’!

Millions of TV-viewers are following seemingly ordinary people in their battle against competition and aim to shine in the limelight – and with that to gain fame and fortune! It seems to be irrelevant what these people actually do, they just have to convince ‘the jury’ with features others don’t have: if you’re not the prettiest, then be the ugliest; if you can’t sing like Pavarotti, why not name the cat food brand by sniffing at your kitties poo? To be at the top of the ladder, it’s essential to be unique and to deliver uniqueness – and it doesn’t matter if the uniqueness doesn‘t add to anything, it just has to add to yourself.

optical illusion

How great that we have the designer, who is able to view the issue from another angle, and by that can generate new and relevant insights, isn’t it?

True, not only designers can do that – it just needs a design thinking, which is driven by curiosity and empathy and wants to improve the existing for the better – and frankly this can be done by all of us, in principle. But what you have to bring along for the ‘better’ truly will be perceived as such by others, is a creative and emphatic mind, which is able to envision how this ‘better’ will take shape and have the desired impact on others. This poses such a beautiful mind is not within everyones reach…

design focus

It was a terrifying sight: a clutter of cables, tubes and pipes was hanging down from the ceiling and gave the scenery the impression of a torture chamber, just like you know from these old b&w horror movies – hello from Dr. Frankenstein!

Somehow it seemed that the grim atmosphere had no influence on the personnel working there: they were completely focussed on preparing patient for an intervention. As I had still to learn: with ‘the patient’ they were referring to the medical case, and not necessarily to the person himself – a subtle but crucial difference.


It’s the time of the year so I was strolling along the local christmas market lately and passed by a craftsman who was weaving a basket. Somehow I was instantly impressed and stood still, starting to observe the activity of the basket-maker: his movements were swift and confident and he was even able to have a conversation with other observers, whilst craft-fully weaving this basket. All of a sudden he paused – he was about halfway finished with his piece – as if he felt something was not right: and indeed, the basketwork at the bottom had a different color as the one at the top, also the braid seemed thinner. So he pulled all apart and started over. Upon which an old lady couldn’t resist and mentioned how pity this was and that she’d never noticed – and that he was almost finished anyway. “Dear Madam, he replied, you have to this work with conviction!” Baskets, he added, one should only sell, if they’re tip-top. “If you can improve, you have to improve, even if it means to start all over. You cant sell inferior crap!” he finished off in a truly convincing manner and continued weaving. The older lady patiently waited till he was done and then bought the basket.


It was the time of the year and the obligatory visit to the largest trade show for consumer electronics was on schedule. Since many years I pay a visit to this temple of electronic gadgets, and along with me many colleagues and former colleagues in design. And every year the leaders in the industry, and those who want to push the big ones from their throne, meet up to showcase the world what they are capable of, and in how far they are better than the competition.


Hard to find these days, the old-fashioned post-order catalog. Mostly you’ll find copies of this almost distinct species on kitchen tables, in crowded newspaper baskets, and for sure it’s to be found at the restroom, true?

You can browse for hours and sniff up all those beautiful products featured on glossy pages…

conveyor belt design

The project team met and the representatives from the various departments gathered in the so-called war-room. This room showcased the state of affairs concerning the running project through posters on the wall. My contributions to the war-room, the design proposals, were marked with neon-colored post-its, which made me wonder if this meant any good…

a brand is a brand!

The classical design job: a technical platform was given by the OEM, and not very outstanding compared to market standards (except for the new ultra fast laser optics) and also the features were not really differentiating from competition (no wonder, being it an ordinary PC mouse..), so the design needed to make the difference!

Together with product management and development, the designers tried hard to come up with a proposal, which would answer to all the requirements concerning usability, as well as clearly fit to the brand language the company had established.

A quick visit to the electronic store around the corner, including a benchmark session, revealed an overcrowded shelf with lots of similar, very competent and technological looking stuff. Well, it seemed just right to base the new design on the renewed brand values, and with that to create an authentic and outstanding form language to set this computer mouse apart from the pack!