Ode to a Fridge: Why Design Matters

Kim PierceallCommunicating and Writing, Marketing

Why Design Matters

I have an unusually deep fondness for my refrigerator. If there was a fire, I would grab the crazy cats first, then give a longing look at the fridge and say goodbye, knowing that saving it wouldn’t be possible. Or logical. Or even sane. Mentioned this to a client once and — rightly so — got a look of puzzlement and concern.

What makes this fridge special? Surely it keeps things cold as most of these appliances are supposed to do. Quite simply, it’s the design features. Thoughtful and well-executed design can make an experience comforting or frustrating or even exhilarating.

Using It Feels Effortless
You reach out to open this fridge and your hand slips into the molded crevice across the top of the main door. No clutching of a clunky vertical rod. Your fingers glide into the nook and a soft tug gets the job done. Freezer door is similar with one handle mirroring the main door and another, more shallow option up at the tippy-top to offset the angle. So even reaching above your head requires minimal effort.

Everything in Its Place
Interior features abound. Glass shelves are adjustable and they slide out for easy access or cleaning. Compartments come in various but commonsense shapes to accommodate different types of foodstuffs. No hunting and digging to find that left-over half onion. Even the freezer lights up and offers a shelf that glides out so you can see what tasty morsels might be tucked away in frosty suspension.

And, Oh, That Wondrous Feeling
Have you ever been frustrated trying to use a new appliance or electronic device and thought maybe you were just being stupid? It’s probably not you. Companies that take the time to consider the user experience and craft an item that makes intuitive sense win over customers time and again. KitchenAid demonstrates that they pay close attention to our relationship with stored food. Oxo is notorious for creating household tools that just feel right. Surely we don’t even need to discuss the success of Apple‘s design aesthetic.

By acknowledging the importance of design even in our most mundane moments, we can apply that observation to our work. Does our company web site make it easy for visitors to find the information they need? Do ads or promotional materials communicate our brand in a tangible way so people understand our company’s strengths? How can we communicate more effectively AND elegantly?

Now get started. Take a few minutes and brainstorm about how you could both simplify and beautify one aspect of your work today. Tackle something easy like the signature line in your email account.  Make sure people can read the important details in a screen-friendly font, legible color and size with hot links to web sites, etc. Make it lovely. Make it matter.