American Design (What drives it?)

Hello everyone -

Assuming that American design is different from Asia or Europe …

( one part of this assumption being based on what you will see on the store shelves and parking lots in the US market vs other markets is quite different )

What do you think are the driving forces behind these designs?

For example, coffee makers ( I have not stake in coffee makers ), but what drives the looks of a Keurig?

Anyway, love to hear your thoughts and examples if you got any. Thanks.

The needs of the customer and the capabilities of the supplier.

Too vague, different things for different markets for different products. Some products and market group will be the same as European markets, some will be for the specific region only. By saying US market in general for all products is hard if not impossible. If you say the WalMart demographics (which isn’t the same as the US demographics), it would be easier to get answers from. But still each brand may/will have different levels of products to cater for specific levels of demographics…all within the “WalMart demographic”. Hence why they have $40 DVD players along-side $200 BlueRay players.

I think the question is more of what are the regional predilections the lead to the differences in businesses that then effect design. Designers switch car brands quite often. I have friends that have worked for American, German, and Japanese brands… the differences tend to be more in the capabilities and preferences of the organizations themselves. Have done work for several footwear brands, it is amazing how different the processes can be and that leads to different results.

To add I’d also say that those very different organizations have very different inputs. To stick with cars, the American car companies are probably predominantly talking to their American dealer network who is talking to their American shoppers, driving on American highways in American suburbs, while the German company is doing all of that in Germany. Different inputs, different outputs.

It’s an over simplification but it has an affect.

The sum of the cultural and historical background that is integrated into each designers personal library/vocabulary. Social representation, and the defined market demands from the world’s leading consumer society.

The individual is strong in America, the customer is king, he or she get what they want. Designers are individuals and want to leave a mark, or have their team or company leave a mark.

A sense of exceptionalism. A sense of self, boldness, aggressiveness, brash, confidence.

What drives American design? Americans.

True, I’d add, to generalize, at the current moment and from my particular point of view, American design seems a bit more tied to the marketing side of commerce and over justification through process. I feel that in Europe it seems more accepted to approach design from a sense of expression or commentary in a way that is more aligned to art (not nearly all of it, or even half of it, but it seems more accepted).

nxakt, what in your view is defining design in Asia at the moment?

The factors shaping Chinese design at the moment are a lack of history of modern industrial design, a bubblishious economy, a desire for the new, the global internet and its inability to give differing weight to crazy s**t and good influences, a strong desire to prove oneself in an aspirational way, both consumers and designers.

There are more Lambos and Ferraris and their ilk here in Shanghai than any city in the world I have visited. All levels of luxury western brand consumerism are dominant here. The “high end” is far too visible. Middle range consumer goods, the ones where one, (a domestic designer) develops a real feel for weight and shape and finish are few and far between.

Design is fashion here. The majority of styling that is thrown at products is to reach an end that is based in fashion. The Chinese voice in design has yet to show through for me personally. There is a rich history of shape and materials that I look forward to seeing harvested in time, but it is going to be a while is my gut feeling. More likely is that a more superficial design aesthetic will rule for a while until new breed of non-conformists push minimalism and find the basics.

Japan, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, all different stories.