Be a Better Designer 2: Have a healthy curiosity


Some of the best designers I know are curious about every thing in their environment both natural or man made. So much so that it annoys the non-designer people around them. Imaging having to stop and look at the way a stop sign is connected to a sign post often annoys significant others.
This curiosity feeds your mental dictionary of things, doo-dads and what-nots. By understanding how everything around you works, how people or companies make things, you can be easily inspired to create the next fantastic design as this information will be at your finger tips.

As they say there are no real original designs just innovative interpretations of designs put under different circumstances.
I really like to look at how the insides of things work, also not to only look but to understand how they manufacture it. If there are plastic parts look for cavity markings, flow marks, sink marks, wall thickness relationships, draft angles, ejector marks and gating points. For metal parts look at the folding techniques, the mounting points and edge detailing. Also dont forget to see how internal PCB mountings are done as well.
Remember not to “look” but “see”.
Just to start things off here are some of my favourite links for such information:
Creative Zen Disassembled
MacBook Pro Ripped Apart
Ipod Nano Trashed
Check back with yourself in a few years you will be surprised by how much you will have learn if you keep your curiosity radar on all the time.

2 Comments
  • cybrpnk

    January 18, 2008 at 1:37 pm Reply

    Interesting…I recently cleaned out my garage and I had a whole heap of old products that have either failed or stopped working…eg…SNES, MegaDrive controller, old mobile phone, old PC CD drive and a whole heap others…and I decided to keep them all in one box and take them apart one by one slowly over the uni holidays…
    Currently still stuck on the CD drive as I can’t seem to figure out how these two parts come apart…lol. It’s kinda like jigsaw puzzle for designers, only that you’re working in reverse…

  • DT

    January 22, 2008 at 11:11 am Reply

    Hi Cybrpnk,
    Yes quite true. I myself have an electronics graveyard, its a damn mess, but good fun after all eh?
    Please keep in touch.

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