why are IBM products so ugly?

A rather simple question…

I’ve been out looking for computers and I have noticed that all of the IBM machines I’ve seen have been hideous looking. I know, I know, looks don’t matter in performance of computers, but it can’t hurt? I’m sure apple has made millions off of thier look. What the deal? Or am I the only on that thinks IBM’s designs look like they’re stuck in the mid 90’s?

No, I’m with you. I played with an E-Server a few weeks back, and the aesthetics were just abysmal. The design itself wasn’t terrible, but it had that 1974 Plymouth Scamp dashboard feel to it.

In defense of IBM, they aren’t stupid. Most of IBM’s customers love them because of their utter commitment to consistency. If you buy an IBM server today, chances are there will be compatibility for years to come. For instance, IBM still uses the same old POST codes at boot time… If you’re an IBM guru, you won’t have to relearn all of those little acronyms year after year… They’ve built customer trust, and when you’re dealing with servers especially, that’s worth a million pretty brushed aluminum fascias or tangerine colored plastic housings.

That said, their consumer products are the pits. They just aren’t geared towards style as a company…


switch, all your talking is STYLE. being design trendy is one thing. design strategy is another.

IBM communicates whole company thru design and style. they worry about highend. real money product. and how to sell both it and the bling-bling services that come with them. not marginal-to-no-profit consumer crap. Apple has to worry about that - they’re a consumer product company. Apple has to be style-driven, it’s a major part of their marketing edge. whole different ballgame.

two different companies. two valid design strategies. two styles communicating unique messages for different people. evaluate the whole picture. not just the little piece you see. thats what people talking about when they say they do “strategic design”.

correct, I meant STYLE…but you’ll notice i was only talking about “look” in my post…I figured people would see what part of the design I was talking about…anyhoo, I’ll remember for next time :slight_smile:

and I see what you mean about it being more of a business type company tho, which I agree with you on. However, lately I’ve been seeing IBM home computer packages popping up at all the major department stores, which I found kind of odd. Maybe they are trying to break into that market? If so, you’d figure that they better change their approach to appeal to that average consumer.

seriously doubt IBM is worrying about the consumer PC market. no money in it. and not when Dell, HP, Apple and the rest want a piece of the server market. where the real money is.

also, who shops at major dept stores? not tech pc crowd. they go online buy parts. most consumers go CompUSA or Best Buy or Dell online. people at dept stores have extra money. everything costs more. those people are white collar. same people working at companies using IBM desktops for work…

I talked to someone at IBM recently. They said they are going to scale back their PC design staff. That shows you where the money is.

Richard Sapper

I’ve done a little research on IBM’s design identity before, and I can tell you that it may look simple and boring, but if you were asked to design an IBM looking product, it ain’t easy at all.

There’s lot’s of details to the vent design, most of which can’t be seen from far. You have to get close to it to see the details. The arrangement of the vents is also something that sets themselves apart from the rest.

So before you start saying someone’s design sucks, go look at the real thing and study it.

Also, if IBM starts to make some fancy designs, chances are that I will get turned off.

Think about it- What other brand looks like an IBM. The aesthetic is deliberately straight sharp and angular. They made a strong decision to not go with the organic looking crowd. Kudos to IBM for having some backbone!

I have an IBM Thinkpad with Windews 2000 for school because it was recommended, and all the people with “pretty” computers look down on my little black box. It’s nice to be reminded that my computer is nicely designed! :wink: