Re: Good to know what offends him
>"I would draw the similarity between Architects and civil engineers. Clothes designers and tailors, Car designers and production engineers. In all cases the former has the freedom to think without the constraint of what's possible or practical The latter professions then go. How the fuck do we build this.. and at that price, by next wednesday."
I think you've just identified the difference between an Industrial Designer and a Product Designer - Ive is of the latter camp.
Here's an example: The designer of the first Sony Playstation insisted on a vent design that required the injection mold tooling to pull away in two directions when the case was being formed, even though the engineers had wanted just a simpler, cheaper perf pattern. The designer, a Mr Teiyu Goto, knew things that the engineers didn't - he knew where Sony where aiming to pitch the product in the market against the incumbents Sega and Nintendo (Sony had been working with Nintendo on a 'Playstation' in 1990, but Nintendo pulled out). The strategy extended to the marketing of the Playstation, as well as the games commissioned for it (such as the clubber-friendly WipEout) - creating its image as a console for young adults, not just children. The Playstation hardware and software accounted for nearly 25% Sony's profits for 1997, so Mr Goto was vindicated. He went on to design the first VAIO desktop and laptop.
A Product Designer will understand the production techniques, and will be able to make an informed decision on whether a design decision is worth the extra production cost - or other costs, such as battery life vs weight. The engineers won't have all the information to make these decisions - they won't know, for example, projections of many units will be manufactured over the next 12 months. The key points here are teamwork and communication between experts in different fields, and for that to work the designer (or as Dieter Rams calls it, the 'Form Engineer') needs at least enough knowledge to converse with these experts. He needs to understand their input, and to communicate his/her views to them.
An Industrial Designer just makes a pretty case to stick over the box that the engineers have already made. As William Gibson will tell you, the first Industrial Designers were recruited from Broadway, as they were theatre set dressers.
- Digital Dreams - The Work of the Sony Desaign Centre 1999 ISBN 9780789302625