2020 has been a complex year!
Here at Realise, we are familiar with handling complexity and uncertainty. Designing good products is not as easy as glossy social media accounts might make out. Delivering technical performance adds layers of detailed considerations that must be expertly handled – but it’s what we do, and we love a complex challenge!
Nothing worth doing is straight forward
The result of solving complex problems well, is that the end design should work beautifully and seem incredibly simple – even deceptively so. As an example, what might look like one of our most simple designs was a hot chocolate shaker for The Chocolate Society, an independent family-run business here in the UK that has recently been voted the best Chocolate Subscription Box by The Independent Newspaper.
Owner Alasdair knew that the highest quality hot chocolate is achieved by shaking, not just stirring. And who doesn’t love a barista-quality hot chocolate at home, especially during the colder months? If you’ve ever put hot liquid into a sealed container and shaken it, you will have found yourself a hot mess because the increase in pressure will spray the contents all over you when the lid is removed.
Simplicity is a competitive advantage
With our design solution, the lid of the container expands during shaking. That’s it – simple. But it hasn’t been done before and involved numerous design routes that tested expansion rates, heat transfer, seal performance, pouring experience and thermal resistance before we got to a beautifully simple and cost-effective result worthy of the fantastic reviews it has since received from delighted customers.
And the icing on the cake – or perhaps the cocoa dusting on the hot chocolate – is that it is being very favourably compared to the bulkier, big-brand electronic hot chocolate makers that can cost four times the price and become difficult to clean. So, even if we say so ourselves, these shakers are ready to make the perfect seasonal gift for those who like to keep life simple.
How to overcome complexity in the quest for simplicity?
Consider the context and the purpose…
Simplicity has always had a very strong relationship with complexity. As a team that invests full immersion levels of interest in the products we design, we relish the complexity of deeply exploring what we’re up against. But achieving simplicity is about knowing and meeting the expectations of our clients and end-users.
Underlying our deep technical thinking are some simple questions:
- Why are we doing this at all?
- How is this going to work in practice?
- What is the value being delivered?
When we start with this process of enquiry, it keeps us focused on solving the real problems rather than getting drawn into the unnecessary complexity of aimless addition or design-by-committee tinkering. It’s the art of managing complexity by removing the meaningless and adding the meaningful.