Monthly Archives: August 2006

Pious Thoughts For Diligent Clerks

For me, this sums up design in a way. Basically ‘The Psychology of Everyday Things’ and my own view of design summarised.

Michael Kelly on his bread making machine:

This machine reassures me. It reassures me that all along it has been the world, not I, that is mad. Because it turns out I’m not a fogey and a Luddite after all, but, as I suspected, the world has been bombarding me with useless and annoying and unnecessary and malfunctioning shit. Because I love my little bread machine. I have several times had to fight the urge to lick it. I did sort of give it a little kiss once, but not with tongues.

It’ll probably never win any poncey bloody design awards, because it looks like it’s supposed to look and you can’t see its insides. It has a valid purpose. It’s not a pointless fuck-around with something that already worked perfectly well. It’s something genuinely new. It can do something that couldn’t be done before, i.e. enable a buffoon like me to make his own bread. It isn’t portable. It’s not compatible or multi-platform or synergistic. It doesn’t smoke crack or sleep with whores or deliver race hate literature door to door, unlike the Dyson vacuum cleaner. You can’t annoy people with it on trains. You don’t have to upgrade it every two minutes.

Best of all is that it’s invisible. I’ve never seen it advertised. Its launch didn’t appear on the TV news, you won’t see footage of people queueing round the block to buy the latest model. You won’t, apart from this one, see any articles about ‘Why I love my bread machine’ or ‘What I put in my bread machine’ or why it heralds an epoch-making liberation for mankind. It just does what it’s meant to do without any fuss. This is what the modern world could have been like, if we’d won the war.

He’d absolutely scorn our design course and this blog no doubt!