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The Not So Ingenious Side Of Industrial Design

Aug 11, 2008
When it comes to industrial design, there has been some of the best inventions the likes of you and I would never dream of. From engines and machinery to vehicles and everyday stuff that makes life so much easier, such as can openers.

However, there are people that sit and come up with ideas that call themselves geniuses, designers, inventors and it makes you wonder how they ever got this idea about themselves. It also makes you wonder how some of these ideas ever got past manufacturers and testers and out onto the open market. But what type of industrial design would bring about such scorn?

Well, fridge design is not something we give much thought to. We buy one that fits, we plug it in, fill it full of our favourite munchies and forget about it. However, what happens when we go to load in our weekly shop and open our box of six eggs to put in the specially shaped tray and find it only has room for five? Everybody knows that eggs come in boxes of six so why oh why would a manufacturer put in a holder for five? Bosch did!

Zanussi brought out their product of industrial design in the form of a washing machine that automatically washed synthetics at 60 degrees. Not such a great design and a wonder that nobody noticed before it went on sale. All synthetic garments come with a recommendation to wash at 40 degrees, this is standard, so what is the point of an automatic setting, supposedly to save time, that is wrong?

Staying in the kitchen of useless industrial design, we have the Kenwood dishwasher who's spray arm was prevented from working once normal sized dinner plates were put inside. If the spray arm cannot move then dishes on the top shelf cannot get washed, kind of defeating the object somewhat! I suppose if you have such limited dishwashing capabilities you might as well buy a table top dishwasher. As long as it's not the the Carlton table top dishwasher which cannot fit standard size mugs inside.

LM Tech's battery heated gloves should be a good idea if only they heated the whole hand. However, they only heat a small part of the hand which is pretty pointless!

The control knobs on the Elba gas oven overheat and Hotpoint produced a larder fridge without a light.

A television has also been released onto the open market that won't switch off. The plug has to be removed from the wall before the TV can be turned off and how many people want this inconvenience? Uni media have brought out a TV that, when you try to adjust the picture, the picture adjustment box covers the entire screen so you can't see what you are doing.

Whatever you do, do not buy your child a yellow slide! The Easy Store Large slide, in a delightful shade of bright yellow, disappears in summer for the weight of bugs that are attracted to its colouring.

So where is the quality control of these products? If the basic quality of a product is so poor can we be sure about its safety or will that be lacking in quality too? Product reviews are a good way of finding out whether a product does exactly what is says on the tin or not and are well worth researching before you delve deep for anything.
About the Author
Design expert Catherine Harvey looks at some of the less capable products of industrial design that have been released onto the market.
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