LIST: 60+ well designed everyday things that go unnoticed
With the new book coming out, I’m running a little contest on Twitter. Best three answers get a signed copy of How Design Makes The World.
The question: what well designed common object goes unnoticed because it works so well?
The premise: We forget that what we do everyday depends on countless inventions, discoveries, designs and systems. Just to flick on a light switch requires centuries of work and effort on the part of people we never even think about. It’s powerful to take a moment to look thoughtfully at the designs around us. There are inspirations and stories waiting for rediscovery.
UPDATE: Winners have been chosen. I chose: the key, the alphabet and the mirror.
Even if you miss the deadline I’d still love to hear what comes to mind for you.
Here’s the list so far:
- The simple toaster oven
- Japanese nail clipper
- The pencil
- The clockface
- Yellow dotted line in middle of roads
- On road reflectors / Cat’s eye
- Bathroom entrances without doors
- Mythical bathroom where you don’t touch anything?
- Aglets (tips of shoelaces)
- Scotch Tape roll holder
- Paper Clip
- Phillips screw and screwdriver
- Cigarette Boxes
- Running water
- Safety Pin
- Light switches
- Toilet Paper
- The Metric system
- Handicapped symbols
- Keys / Lock & Key
- Clothes buttons
- Tire pressure valves
- Single level mixer (a faucet that controls both temp and water pressure)
- Waste disposal / recycling
- Safety Matches
- Dog door
- Differential gears
- Traffic signs
- Curb cuts
- The dial
- The smell added to natural gas
- Windshield wippers
- Soda can tabs
- A mug
- Ballpoint pen
- Light bulb
- Decimal number system
Have an interesting one I should consider? Leave a comment.
The steering wheel in a car!
How come my entry (Cardboard Box) is not on the list?
Good catch – I missed it. Twitter doesn’t make it easy to see all the replies.
Historians don’t know how Roman armour was fastened on, as pictures only show the outside. I thought it was an inside historian joke when in the movie Aliens, as they are gearing up, the camera shows…
a plastic buckle that goes click.
Big Job and Small Job Flush buttons. The impact is so huge. Gazillions of gallons of water saved.
I had posted a similar article on LinkedIn a year back.