After the crits on our Mark 2 prototype I had plenty of things to think about.
I think the main thing that stuck in my head after the crits was that the design was too overbearingly complicated – the one phrase that kept circulating in my head was Dieter Rams “The best design is as little design as possible”.
Therefore – I took the design back to the drawing board for another iteration. It occurred to me at this point that from the start of the project from where I am now the design had changed so much – but then again this is the nature of design – It’s an iterative process. Like whittling – you start with a big ugly block of wood and little by little, you chip away at it until you get something beautiful.
The first thing that I felt had to be dealt with was the indicators. They were far too heavy handed – and really they didn’t tie in with the aesthetic of the product, or the branding. It was this issue that really led to the rethinking of the entire language of the fascia.
I wanted to follow Dieter Rams cannon – so first of all I removed the raised plastic parts leading to the indicators – given the angle of the fascia already – these were pretty irrelevant and just made the design more noisy – these were binned straight away.
Next the branding I felt was in the completely wrong place – so it was removed and put on the front of the module instead; but the large circle (representative of the user) was kept in an outline.
I felt the overuse of the plastic material for the indicators while also being problematic to produce, cheapened the feel of the design overall – So these got binned also and replaced with the solid metal which surrounded it while also keeping their outline.
Finally it leaves the iconography behind the indicators. It was a really fickle subject – it’s hard to consider what indicates people or conversation without being heavy handed. It took me hours of sketching before I came up with the idea of tying it in with the logo of the project – which utilises a speech bubble in the “O” of “Social?”. Smart huh.
So how do you make this proportional? Well use an already existing language – A mobile phone battery meter. Combined with the visual language of traffic lights – the colours of which are really intrinsic to their meaning.
And hence the new design was born