Saturday, January 18, 2014

A lesson about design and quality---a video by Saddleback's CEO

This is a fun and interesting video that reveals the design thinking and material quality of the Saddleback's bags. Dave Munson shows in the video how you can produce a cheap version of his expensive bags by saving money on design and materials.

2 comments:

Adam said...

I really love Saddleback. I have been carrying their front pocket ID wallet for a while. Leather is a material that I think is completely alive.
And now (due to my capstone direction(s)) I am asking what patina looks like in Interaction Design.

heatherwiltse.me said...

This ties into, and ties together, a couple things I've been thinking about recently. First, it seems to be extremely difficult to find a luxury brand (or any brand really) that focuses on the intrinsic quality of a product like Saddleback does. Most either are or aspire to be 'lifestyle' brands, so that the real product they try to sell is a lifestyle and the actual tangible product is just an accessory and enabler of that lifestyle. And often the quality of the products reflects the order of these priorities.

As I started thinking about this in the context of interaction design because of your post, I realized that often digital interactions are also conceptualized and marketed in terms of the lifestyles they support or, more broadly, their semantics, more than any sort of intrinsic 'quality'. So a smartphone is associated with instantly sharing vacation photos on the beach and managing the demands of an affluent, mobile, creative professional on the go; and it is evaluated/marketed according to its ability to fit into that lifestyle rather than, say, something like the smoothness of the transitions between its applications.

While it is still obvious that a connoisseur like Munson can recognize intrinsic quality, is there such a thing in interaction design? I think there is, and that it could be similarly contrasted to sloppiness and shortcuts that make things easier. I do think it might be more challenging to articulate though.