Good design justifies itself
It is not able to be omitted without loss of meaning or function barring practical alternatives. It exudes dialectical ingenuity. But more importantly it embraces its own existence along a natural, evolutionary continuum. Extinction, or the displacement of an earlier technology, for example, does not negate good design.
Good design is antithetical to capitalism
Disregarding the obvious environmental and psychological impacts of the capitalist mode of production, planned obsolescence is a business strategy, among others. Stimulating consumption by intentionally designing products badly so as to have limited use is necessitated by competition within industries.
Good design is serious
The product may be flippant but it should be executed with conviction nevertheless.
Good design is formulaic
It is not accidental, spontaneous, or random. It is reproducible. It is effortlessly understandable because it knows what its purpose is. It is modular. With hindsight, its development will seem to have been inevitable.
Page curl effect ad. Come on.
Blake Fall-Conroy, “Minimum Wage Machine,” 2008-2010
This machine allows anyone to work for minimum wage for as long as they like. Turning the crank on the side releases one penny every 4.97 seconds, for a total of $7.25 per hour. This corresponds to minimum wage for a person in New York.
This piece is brilliant on multiple levels, particularly as social commentary. Without a doubt, most people who started operating the machine for fun would quickly grow disheartened and stop when realizing just how little they’re earning by turning this mindless crank. A person would then conceivably realize that this is what nearly two million people in the United States do every day…at much harder jobs than turning a crank. This turns the piece into a simple, yet effective argument for raising the minimum wage.
Here’s a piece that another artist is working on that could also help inspire change in the U.S. government. He’s trying to raise money to send every U.S. Senator a copy of Dr. Seuss’ “The Zax.” They clearly should have paid more attention to stories about compromise like this in kindergarten. Indiegogo.com/TheZaxProject.