Front cover image for Small things considered : why there is no perfect design

Small things considered : why there is no perfect design

The ultimate context of design is, of course, the human user. Many designed things are "one size fits all," and so if they fit anyone perfectly, it is a statistical coincidence. This being so, all the rest of us must make do. Sometimes we can shop around and try a different brand or model of a designed object, hoping to find the one that seems to have been made for us. Most likely, we never find such a thing, and so we compromise in our choice, selecting a less attractive chair because it is more comfortable or picking an uncomfortable chair because it looks more striking in our living room. We learn to live in a world of imperfect things, just as we do in a world of imperfect fellow human beings. If we cannot find a pair of shoes that is a perfect fit for us, and if we cannot or do not wish to spend the money to have our shoes custom-made, then we choose a pair whose looks and fit are as close to what we want as we can find. We think, therefore we design. Indeed, there is barely anything that we do, much less use, that does not have a design component to it. - p. 15
Print Book, English, 2003
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2003