Jan 29

Zen in Product Design

"So how can MUJI be good for you? Generally speaking, things are not good for us; too many or too valuable and we are corrupted. But, we all need some things (even Gandhi had a pair of spectacles, some sandals, a bowl, a dish and a pocket watch) and to some extent we are defined by our choices of those things. We may reveal to others in our choice of things that we have good taste or bad taste, expensive taste, cheap taste, modest taste, flashy taste, snobbish taste or not taste at all. Between the moment of choosing and paying for something and the day we no longer have a need for it, there are certain exchanges between the thing and us. The service provided by the thing on the one hand and how we feel about being its owner on the other hand. For some, owning a Ferrari may be the most important thing in life, but is owning something which only a few others can afford good for you? I don’t think so.

There is an English importer of wine which has been selling Bordeaux wine in England for more than 300 years, and besides all the expensive wines that they offer, there’s one which they call “Good Ordinary Bordeaux,” which costs much less than the others but which is fine to drink as an everyday wine. Similarly, the MUJI concept is to make things as well and as cleverly as possible at a reasonable price, for the thing to be “enough” in the best sense of the word, and this kind of “enough” is good for you because it removes status from the product/consumer equation and replaces it with satisfaction. The kind of satisfaction that you have when the money you exchange for the thing is proportional to the value which you receive from the thing, and the thing itself is good at being itself without any pretension of being anything more special.”

— Jasper Morrison, MUJI product designer

Aug 08


Jul 07

The new warrior cop is out of control -

The increasing militarization of our police force is one of the trends I’m most worried about. This Salon piece paints a terrifying picture of cops running around with impunity - using SWAT teams to raid poker games, killing dogs, assaulting peaceful protestors. There needs to be a stricter level of oversight on police actions - otherwise our cops are just thugs with guns, acting with no regard for consequences against the very citizenry they’re intended to protect.

Jul 06


Go for a walk; cultivate hunches; write everything down, but keep your folders messy; embrace serendipity; make generative mistakes; take on multiple hobbies; frequent coffeehouses and other liquid networks; follow the links; let others build on your ideas; borrow, recycle, reinvent.

The last paragraph of Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From, a neat summary of the book’s ideas on how creativity and innovation happen. Definitely worth a read, but if you don’t have the time: there you go.

Apr 21