This sentence I will always remember as the sentence spoken by well-known hifi dealer Walter Nowak, long long time ago. Walter was going out for dinner with 3 girls and while raising my eyebrows and for sure having made a comment, that was his answer. Walter died quite suddenly last year and he is still often in my mind. He was one of the first high end dealers in The Netherlands.
The title of this blog, came up while I was thinking about the product looks and how the product designer has to deal with that. Of course the job of a product designer is to come up with ideas. New ideas. Better ideas. And each product designer hopes he touches the right spot so customers are attracted and willing to buy his products.
I have always been amazed how many variations can be made on one topic. Take for example a car. Basically a rectangle “thing” on 4 wheels (the T-Ford resembles this description the most) and during the years and still now, product designers know how to change the lines, the curves, so much that every car has a different look. And if 2 different models are almost the same, one of these is still looking nicer or less nice, according to who is looking at it.
All these variations in one “thing” you see in fact in many if not all products if you think about it. Watches, shoes, shirts, electronics. In fact as Walter stated, you see this also with human beings. They basically all consist of the same “parts” and “pieces” and the end result is never the same :-).
Often a brand finds, during time, a certain look and uses that in every new model. With minor changes during time. Because once you reach a very successful look, it might be dangerous to choose for an abrupt change. But also not changing a look can be dangerous. Very hard decisions to take sometimes. I always admired Dan D’Agostino’s (when at Krell) decisions to change every few years the looks of his products. And always for the better, while we, distributors, were always a bit afraid for such changes.
What to think for example of the PrimaLuna tube-covers. We started off with the “squarish” models and we came up at a certain moment with the “rounded” model. This changed the look of the amps completely. Many people prefer the rounded covers. Due to CE rules we now offer 2 tube-covers in