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An Ode to Design


As the year 2012 nears its post-doomsday end (what a bummer that was!), I wondered what kind of an article I should write to finish off this year in style?

The year gone by has generally been a rather good year for Design with the Mobile Internet+ Tablet market going berserk, Angry Birds proving yet again that greedy pigs are meant to be buried alive, the exciting new world of 3D-Printing, the Curiosity Martian rover
highlighting the stellar limits of Human Engineering and of course the Apple Vs Samsung wars suggesting that Design is now vital for survival throughout the world of trade and commerce.

So in the spirit of a bright future for Design, I want to share with you a small Design Story- A story that humbly highlights the enormous contribution that Design can make to transform our lives for the better, however big or small that contribution might be.

The protagonist of this story is a Design Masterpiece- Our tiny friend, the ‘Toothpick’

That’s right, the tiny little thing that you use for 10 seconds before throwing it away without even taking a second glance! The Toothpick has probably saved billions of people from 5 hour drilling sessions and forfeiting half their yearly savings to a dentist.

Every manmade object in this world has been designed, including the toothpick. There isn’t even a single object that hasn’t been touched by Design.‘What Design could possible go into a toothpick’? Cynics might scoff. Here, let me tell you:

Upon closer observation of a regular wooden toothpick, you might notice that one of the tips is pointed and is used by a person for cleaning purposes but you might also notice a few grooves that run around its body near the other end at the top. Many of you might think that these grooves serve only an aesthetic purpose. But in reality, these grooves are useful in two very important ways.

First, the groove helps the user to break off the tip of the toothpick after use. In that way, anybody can easily identify which toothpick is used or unused.

Secondly, the broken off tip also serves as a stand wherein the user needs to place his or her toothpick down temporarily before using it again!

This is the humble Design Story of a Toothpick.

Everything in this world has its own design story- Be it a website or an Automobile, a brochure or a pair of Jeans, they all tell a story- A story of Human achievement and Desire, a desire to make life easier and more meaningful for all of Humanity. It is in that spirit that Design shall grow and achieve more for ages to come.

Wishing you all a very bright and enlightening New Year. Cheers!

P.S: Even I did not know about the toothpick’s story until I saw the movie ‘Objectified’. Please do watch it if you haven’t already. A must watch for anybody and everybody who is fascinated by the products around them.

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