weird vs. strange: same or different?

I’m someone that tends to welcome the out of the ordinary. Sometimes its good when something just fits. But there are times, in life and in design, where I can appreciate when something does not. Last year’s IDSA conference was about “cool” and how it affected design. As a consensus, most of us can recognize “cool” when we see it. Yet, when it comes to describing what “cool” is, the answers are quite diverse. As a product designer, it is sometimes an attribute I’d like my design to possess. However, what may happen instead is that I’ve missed the “cool” target and hit instead “weird” or “strange”.

But is that necessarily a bad thing? It really depends on how you view each. And just as much as “cool” can lack defining, so too can something that’s “weird” or “strange”. But there’s still a sense of understanding.

Are they the same? Or are they different? If so, what is it that makes us accepting of one and not the other?

Interestingly enough, here is a photo essay of how some people define something as “weird” or “strange”.

Just as a disclaimer, if you see NSFW (not safe for work) next to an image, it means that you’ll be extremely embarrassed if someone caught you looking at that particular link.

OMG that was funny. My husband loves that website (FARK). Thanks for the laugh!

As for your question, personally I think there is a fine line between “cool” and “weird” and often the two overlap. Plus, there is the eliment of personal tastes, cultural climate, etc. I think the definition of “what’s cool” is always going to be illusive.

I think “weird” and “strange” can be defined as similar terms but when “odd” comes into the vocabulary describing design… then your in trouble.

yeah…i would definitely associate “odd” with a negative event.
a slightly embellished memory from my early days:

nick receives box from rapid prototyper.
nick: “hmm…that’s odd. shouldn’t this part fit on your finger?”
jerry: “um…yeah…but for some reason, it looks like it fits something bigger than a finger.”
nick: “that’s weird.”
jerry: “yeah…it is pretty strange.”

this is from one of my first lessons inputing “diameters” as opposed to “radii” in SolidWorks.

person 1: “hey! what’s in that bag?”
person 2:
person 1: “cool!”

jules: “vince…we cool?”
vince: [looking in briefcase] “yeah…we cool.”
me then: [to self] “that’s weird. what was in that briefcase?”