We all have a great sense of humor

If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.

– Thomas Jefferson

In order to become different, it is important to try to something ‘new’, by using the metaphors. Usually, metaphors are associated with poetry, but what if it is now used in design? Will it produce an unexpected result? The art of using metaphor is to make people surprise and be amazed through user-experience. Not everyone can be ‘the artist’ in using metaphors, however, it is not impossible to be done correctly.

There are tons of product designs in the market, and in order to stand out the designer must do something different from others. For example, giving the design a personality, a soul, re-name or redesign the objects in a cheerful, funny and thoughtful way. Poetic design can be hard to achieve but always can pay off once it got everyone’s attention. The design doesn’t have to have complicated structure. Sometimes simple objects are more effective because it is easier to understand through observation and by experiencing the product

Cracked Up Colander by Fred & Friends
Cracked Up Colander by Fred & Friends

Winnif Pang, a Hong Kong- based product designer, who is working for his own firm, is an example of a designer who creates unique products.  Pang philosophy is to create products for home and office in a poetic way. What did he do that made him so distinguish from other? HePang passionate about mixing either related or unrelated things together to create a fun idea with reasonable price. An example is the Cracked Up Colander, Pang was being thoughtful when using metaphor in this design. He looked into an ordinary colander then found another way to drain the water out. Eventually, he did find the answer, his solution was to incorporate cracks that serve the same purpose of the holes. He manipulates functional similarity and give the colander some cracks so we can drain the water.

CRACKED UP 'Shattered' Mug
CRACKED UP ‘Shattered’ Mug

The Shattered Mug, belonging to the ‘cracked up’ series, is another product that Pang created. This series challenges the ordinary appearance of an object by applying cracks onto the surface. However, in this particular object, the form is different as the mug is covered in cracked pieces of ceramics (Makmanee 2013). The special thing about this is that it is an unusual looking mug, which draws attention to Pang’s design. Broken pieces that mended together is a metaphor of our morning mood, as we need to fix ourselves up in the morning. Another meaning to this design can be understood as waking up from an unfinished dream.

The arrangement of the pieces is random but minimal and artistic. It is as if someone accidently dropped the cup and tried to glue all the pieces together, pretending that nothing happened and no one will notice. By saying that, it almost sounds like we are little children trying to cover our mistake in a cheeky way (Keep 2013)

'Frank Lamp' by Pana Objects
‘Frank Lamp’ by Pana Objects
'Frank Lamp' by Pana Objects
‘Frank Lamp’ by Pana Objects

“Some people thought it was strange that I was making things like that, but I think there is a kid inside everybody.” – Winnif Pang

We are all amazed by adorable and strange things because there is always a kid inside us. As a part of being ‘a kid’, is to play, to discover a new thing. But in a design term, we don’t call that action as play, we call it ‘experience and interaction’ with a product. A design that immediately draws users’ attention is this ‘Frank Lamp’ by Pana Objects (Design42day 2012) . This dog-like lamp has re-attachable legs, which invites the user to play with it more and is fun to use (Pana Objects 2012). Again, nothing is too complicated in terms of the shapes as there are only clean lines. The product is sleek and minimal, while being alive and energetic as it is in the shape of a ‘puppy’.

Poetic design can be minimal as possible, as unnecessary details can distract its beauty and make the audience misunderstand the concept. There is art in poetic design, but this does not mean that the product cannot have a function and cannot be interacted with users. Which is more important, user experience or the products appearance? Or both ?