“There’s a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.” This famous quote, attributed to Oscar Levant, demonstrates how even the most brilliant ideas (and individuals) could be considered crazy, and that may not always be a bad thing. In designing a product, sometimes innovative designs can be seen as ludicrous… unless they are a huge success. Then it will seem like the designer was a genius all along. So what’s the difference between products that are brilliant in their design and those that are just completely ridiculous?
Will The Consumer Look Strange?
One of the more notable design failures in recent memory is the Google Glass. When it was released in 2013, the Google Glass was hailed as a potentially innovate way for users to interact with the digital world… and then people saw it. The glasses made users look… odd, to say the least. No one wanted the stigma of wearing them, and they were discontinued by the beginning of 2015. Some ingenious designs have the same problem; users don’t like how they look using them. Take the Ella Umbrella, an umbrella with a clear section for you to look out of so that the umbrella can cover your whole head without limiting visibility. It’s an elegant solution for a rainy day, but only time will tell if consumers will embrace such an unusual design aesthetic.
Is It Solving a Problem that Needed to be Solved?
Yanko Design has crafted a plug with a hole in the middle that makes it easier for users to pull the plug out of the socket. It’s a great design, but is this a problem that consumers are willing to spend money to solve? Sure, plugs can be somewhat frustrating to pull out of the socket sometimes, but is it frustrating enough for someone to spend money on a better cord? This is another instance where time will show how well consumers embrace this idea. if it succeeds, it will be hailed as a brilliant design. If not, it will be one more “ridiculous” design idea that’s brushed into the dustbin of history.