The simplicity of a product design derives from outstanding treatment of complexity of the modern-day product brimming with high-tech features, Red Dot Founder and Chief Executive Peter Zec said in his lecture at the Herald Design Forum 2018 held Friday at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in eastern Seoul.
Peter Zec, Red Dot founder and chief executive, speaks at Herald Design Forum 2018 in Seoul on Friday. (Lee Sang-sup/The Korea Herald)
“Simplicty is not the opposite of complexity, it is just a very good interpretation of complexity,” said the 61-year-old German design consultant, author and publisher. “Complexity goes hand in hand with simplicity.”
Technological advances pose a challenge to product designers where making things easier to use is “very necessary,” Zec argued.
“It’s just a handful of people who are experts in this area ... (but) regular people want easy living,” he said “I guarantee that the simplicity will last forever, and the only challenge is, the more we invest in more technologies, it is not easier to make simple things.”
Zec added the global manufacturing industry’s adoption of simplicity in product design has contributed to the upshot in performance such as net sales. He picked Swedish furniture maker Ikea, Danish toymaker Lego. US container maker Tupperware, UK home appliances maker Dyson and US tech company Apple.
In his speech, Zec said simplicity can come in functional form as first observed in the world’s first iron bridge in 1779 and crystal palace in the United Kingdom in 1851, and as a style-creating form as German art school Bauhaus’ inspiration for the generations that followed.
Simplicity can also work as a symbolic form that can make a brand more predictable for the consumers, he added.
Since taking the helm of the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen, Germany in 1991, Zec transformed a national design competition launched in 1955 into what is now one of the most prestigious global competitions in the design industry.
At this year’s awards, 39 design experts judged over 6,300 entries from 59 countries, and 1.1 percent of them received the top awards.
Zec was given honorary Seoul citizenship in 2016 for his contribution to the city as an adviser to the Seoul city mayor and member of Seoul International Business Advisory Council.
By Son Ji-hyoung