Saturday, August 16, 2008


Raymond Loewy, an industrial designer who worked on everything from dishes and the classic Coke bottle to Greyhound buses and Air Force One, subscribed to the MAYA design philosophy: Most Advanced Yet Acceptable.
Our desire is naturally to give the buying public the most advanced product that research can develop and technology can produce. Unfortunately, it has been proved time and time again that such a product does not always sell well. There seems to be for each individual product (or service, or store, or package, etc.) a critical area at which the consumer's desire for novelty reaches what I might call the shock-zone. At that point the urge to buy reaches a plateau, and sometimes evolves into a resistance to buying. It is a sort of tug of war between attraction to the new and fear of the unfamiliar. The adult public's taste is not necessarily ready to accept the logical solutions to their requirements if this solution implies too vast a departure from what they have been conditioned into accepting as the norm. In other words, they will go only so far. Therefore, the smart industrial designer is the one who has a lucid understanding of where the shock-zone lies in each particular problem. At this point, a design has reached what I call the MAYA (Most Advanced Yet Acceptable) stage.
Raymond Loewy

Many designers seem to aim for Most Advanced, leading to objects that are simply baffling or ugly, or Acceptable, leading to boring objects; they seldom achieve the balance that makes an object both interesting and pleasant. The balance is so seldom in evidence that Target has created a nice niche for itself simply by designing thoroughly acceptable items that are somewhat advanced; these objects, although not perfect, are so clearly more interesting than most of what is on the market in household goods that I almost always start at Target when I want something for my kitchen or bathroom.

No comments: