When looking for something cool, a general thought is to look at the shell of an object or maybe the new technology that it uses. People tend to use style and trends as key attributes to determine COOLNESS. If you look back at some of the coolest products of 2009, I think you will find quite a difference in the way people are thinking about design than say the cultmobile! of 2000. Only a nine year difference and it is evident that function and utility is complimented by style. FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION.
As a young professional, maybe, I think about things like where will I be in 5 years or 2 years. Do I NEED a fabulous mansion in the hills or a GMC Denali? ...Maybe. Do I need to take some time off to "think" about where I will go...daydreaming...finding my purpose...following stars? ...Maybe. Do I NEED to find a place that will make me happy and surround myself with things that are fun and functional at the same time? ...Probably. With product design especially, we are starting to see real design thought that makes things easier to use, and screams simplicity to user keep in order to keep interest and allow for development. Too much frilly detail can only keep attention for so long, then drift to someone else or the garbage. In the furniture world, sofas with little to no padding are looked at more as sculpture and not something to spend hours and hours playing video games. They might be sleek but are not functioning with their original, intended purpose (good vs. bad). Comfort and relaxation. From lighting to tables, we are experienceing an appreciation for what is necessary and how we can use the least amount of parts to create function and fun. We are seeing a more direct visual of what things should be rather than something that takes too much time to absorb and interpret.
Design has roots in engineering, art, media, fashion, trade, healthcare, law and finance. "Design is to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan." *
Designs have to meet deadlines in order for refinement, manufacturing and marketing. The success of the product relies on timeliness of the design team, but also the timeliness of information collected about what people want.
Today, designers have to USE the user. They are forced to. Products cannot exist without your input from the beginning of the concept until the physical product is on Target shelves.
The more networking and idea sharing that we can do, the better products will be. It's proven. Keep blogging and talking about what works.