Is aesthetic appeal more important than function?
When designing a product, there are many things to consider, such as aesthetics and functionality. Sometimes these factors can work together in harmony, other times sacrifices need to be made.
An interesting example is that of the common clothes iron. Clothes irons are often stylised to appear streamlined and sharp to make the user believe that they will complete their ironing faster. In reality, having sharp edges and corners on the heating plate can actually increase the likelihood of catching and snagging parts of the material.
A more efficient design would incorporate smoother, more rounded edges, however, this creates a sluggish aesthetic and makes the user think it will take longer to iron their clothes.
An alternative example is a lemon juicer. There are many lemon squeezer products on the market. One with stick-thin legs, for example, does not provide a stable base and make the process of squeezing a lemon difficult and tricky when compared to a typical lemon juicer. However, the striking aesthetics make the product stand out from the crowd giving it the potential to attract customers.
That said, function should not be neglected. A product that functions poorly runs the risk of gaining a bad reputation and negative reviews.
‘Is aesthetic appeal more important than function’, in my opinion, the answer is ‘sometimes’. It depends on the product.
Some products which are designed to be embedded and not seen, such as a water pressure sensor, should focus more on function.
But, for products which are on display and often looked at, aesthetics should be a top priority.
What Innovate can do
At Innovate, we can help you develop your idea into a concept which has the right balance between form and function. Our process is designed to allow your design to evolve and grow over time. Through gaining market feedback with the presentation material and prototypes we can make for you, you will learn more about your target market, and discover how they think, and what to prioritise when it comes to form vs. function.