Reinventing the wheel

I’ve been thinking about when/if object designs reach a pinnacle. As I see it, such a state is reached when there are no further significant variations or additions to a basic design. For example, ceramic coffee cup versus ceramic coffee cup with a ceramic frog in the bottom of it.

Another way of looking at a design pinnacle might be to think of it as a design in which any further incremental improvement in function leads to some exponential increase in cost. Obviously, whether an incremental improvement is worth it or not depends on the task the design is meant to accomplish; ten thousandths of an inch precision costs much more than hundredths of an inch, but the increase is critical for some applications.

The latter view can perhaps be thought of as a ‘practical design pinnacle’…to make an object any other way impairs functionality or incurs additional cost that outpaces the benefit.

Any input, critiques or thoughts on this?

yeah i read your post and i can relate it to vehicle aerodynamics. Eventually, all car designs will lead to the exact same shape in the quest for perfect aerodynamics.

With that principle, there would have been only one kind of fish, or a bird or a dog in nature.

I do agree that many categories of objects have reached a saturation point of design. But then that’s where a great designer comes in. Designer’s challenge is to inspire, excite, reconnect the same old object with the new user.

Absolutely right re: convergent soluitions and fish. When you have a glut of similar solutions, the evolutionary survivor is the one that will have the secret weapon over the rest of the herd. There will never be a convergent solution. There is always a method to improve.

So imagine there is one aero (assuming you figured out what characteristic you wanted to nail down)car. Then you need to figure out how to handle a fleet of aero cars when all cars are aero. Aero for one car is different from that of a platoon. How do platoons interact with the environment and how does that affect the design of your seat?

No perfect man-made solution-ever. The individual affects the system and vice versa.