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Objectified Documentary Response

The concept about industrial design that I found the most brilliant, yet counterintuitive in the Objectified documentary was that a quality mass-produced product should be designed for the physical extreme ends of the consumer market. In the documentary, we meet an industrial designer who tells his clients that he’s less interested in the profile of their average customer and cares far more about the needs of the physical outliers. This point arose from the consideration of a vegetable peeler with an easy-to grip rubber handle. I’ve used a similar one myself, and I highly prefer it to the ones with abrasive metal handles, but I never thought about the designers’ motivations for evolving the tool to be more comfortable. The designers, it turned out, were trying to better the experience for users with arthritis. This demonstrates the idea that the problems, needs, and limitations of the market extremes are the callings that good design needs to answer. The middle ground, as the documentary says, will take care of itself. And I can testify to that, as I’m sure many other able-bodied people who’ve benefitted from similar modifications also can.

Mary Catalfamo

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