I’ve been thinking about design quality and what it really means and for a while now, I have this notion that divides designers into three categories.
The first kind, are what I call “solid steel”. The solid steel designer’s work is… well, solid steel. It’s impenetrable and indestructible and even if you chip it and bend it, somehow, you are always left with solid steel.
The work is solid, because the designer is solid. It’s someone that takes time to work out the details, to figure out structure, function, form and use. Usually, these people are professional designers – either with a good foundation study, academically speaking, or with good experience, or both. They know their craft well and are prepare to defend their work, not because they’re trying to come up with excuses not to change it, but because they know it so well and understand it fully.
There is reason behind everything a solid steel designer does, things are not random or done “just because”.
The second kind of designer, of course, is the shit designer. This designer’s work stinks, evidently and the problem is even worse: the more you pick at it, the more it comes apart and the more it comes apart… the worse it stinks.
This designer is usually one of three things, or maybe combinations thereof: an amateur, an idiot or a lazy person. Nothing seems right in this guy’s/gal’s work: things are out of place and awkward to use, the message isn’t clear and nothing looks particularly attractive.
The thing with shit, though, it’s that it is widespread. Nobody likes shit but unfortunately, it is everywhere. But we’ve got to admit one thing about shit: shit is honest. It doesn’t deceive you. You clearly identify it, and you only step on it if you want to, or if you’re caught off-guard and distracted. That’s why, I think the last type of designer is the final one.
And that’s the “shit-chromer”. The shit-chromer is, obviously, someone who chromes shit. This designer’s work is poorly thought out, constructed out of random ideas that have no base on reality and exist only in the designer’s ego. This is the guy who thinks he’s the best because his stuff looks good, when in fact, if you look underneath the chrome, all you still got is shit.
So this is shit served on a gold platter. Fake, disguised shit, usually wearing the season’s clothes to please the market and having no other root besides a slight organization of elements and a nice choice of visual bling.
Where the solid steel work, works, no matter how deep you strip it down, and the shit work is just, well… shit; the chromed shit work looks really nice, until you actually pick it up, and that chrome layer comes apart and you’re left, suddenly, with a desperate desire to find a sink and a bar of soap.