The Inspiration of Swiss Army Knife
As technology improved, devices and components like electric circuits and big batteries are miniaturized or replaced by chips. This not only gives more spaces for form and appearance design but also provides more functions in a single product. More and more functions are demanded not because they are needed but because they can be included in the design. However, more is not necessarily better.
Swiss Army knife is a design masterpiece well-known for its high quality, functionality and precision. Hundreds of blades were invented and more than one tool was contained in one blade. However, only an average of 4 to 6 layers and no more than 15 layers of blades were designed for one Swiss Army knife. It is not that other blades are not useful but because it will be impractical to assemble all blades in a single Swiss Army knife while keeping its functionality. Swiss Army knife is supposed to be carried around in ones’ pocket and being operated by single hand. Therefore, the knife must not be too thick and too heavy. Besides, no matter how many tools are included in the Swiss Army knife, there will always be another blade needed.
That’s the reason why making decisions is crucial to product designers. To know what should be removed and what should be kept, they must not be greedy. Designers need to let their consumers and users know that they cannot have it all. This is not just for functions but also for other design factors. Sometimes, producing methods, materials, procedures, budgets, time costs, etc. will contradict each other at the same time. Compromising is necessary in many cases. You can’t have your cake and eat it. Designers know they can solve only one problem at a time, and then develop and modify it gradually.
Multifunction is necessary to consumers nowadays. The structure, mechanism and function of the design can be complicated, if necessary, but the operation must not be confusing for the users. A good design can be creative and interesting in many ways but certainly not by fooling the users around and make them cross.
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