Simple is genius

I try to find some good examples from everyday life and display here, talk about it. The are two type of products out there:  designed to lure consumer by making first impressions of much more valuable and useful product then it actually is aiming to generate more sales and the other type is when design is done with a thought,  heart and clearly communicated benefit that supports quality of life, experience and environment.

As I moved to London from Helsinki a year ago I found this interesting example of a can opener. I was looking for decent can opener all around because I like to cook a wok with coconut sauce. However I did not find any suitable openers in London, to my surprise they all are huge, complicated and need almost manual to be used. Here I want to compare two very different design extremes: a can opener that I bought in London for 8£ and a can opener that I used in Helsinki (Finland) cost around only 50 Euro cents! With the english opener I could not intuitively open a can, I tried in all possible ways but I almost managed to cut myself and spill half of can’s content – it had plenty of moving parts, extremely and unnecessarily complex mechanism and no clear communication how it should be used. Just imagine of energy and resource consumption to produce such an animal?

Can opener I found in Londo

One of the openers I found in London

And to comparison here is a can opener most widely used in Finland – one part steel pressed.  It is very simple and genius, works very well, never brakes and design instantly tells how you can use this device. It is unbreakable, cheap and most useful. Production is simple and effect on environment is minimal. This just makes me think how many there are other devices and “super cool” designs that are actually made for luring costumer to pay more instead of improving experience, life quality and environment.

Finish can opener

Finnish can opener (Image: Mikael Jaakkola)

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