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Old 11-16-2012, 03:39 PM   #517
jjallenupthehill
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Posts: 25
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Wales, UK
Device: Nook Simple Touch (US)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_S View Post
It may take one person ten minutes to lay out an icon matrix on a screen, and 100s of thousands of man hours to design the functionality of a cell phone radio and baseband, for example.
Well - really, no. Seriously. You won't believe the time it can take a designer to get a simple thing right, like the radius/curvature of an icon or the spacing on a screen, or even the background colour. I once had a client who had the office change the size of a full stop (period for US readers) 4 times in his logo by just 50mm on a 1:50 drawing. The difference was infinitesimal! Thats an extreme and ridiculous example, but it's not as uncommon as you would think. That's why I have been banging on about curve radii and some really subtle design things that most people just won't get. Make no mistake, the iPhone took thousands and thousands of hours and prototypes to get 'just right'. That's precisely why it's so irritating to have someone else totally rip it off.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_S View Post
Even if the icon matrix took longer than a few minutes, there is no indication that more than a few minutes is required, or that extensive education is required. There certainly is no chance at all of throwing together a smartphone radio and baseband in a few minutes, and the education in multiple disciplines of the people involved is very extensive. Even the work involved in ripping off significant functionality is far greater than the work involved on the design elements in question.
Sadly, you're just wrong here. I know it sounds completely counter-intuitive, and very possibly quite mad, but sometimes 'simple' design is quite the opposite. To achieve something that looks simple is often much more complex than something which looks, well - complex.

The reason for this is that with so few elements to play with, every one has to be tweaked so that it is just right. When Sony designed the original Walkman, it took them weeks and weeks just to get the feel of the button just right. We're not even talking about what something looks like here. The idea was to create something that had a really satisfying feel to it that made people just want to play with it, in a compelling bubble wrap kind of way.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_S View Post
The time and effort required are not even within several orders of magnitude of each other, so there is certainly a huge difference in value. I think part of the whole point of this Samsung vs. Apple thing is that the design elements in question are so trivial that it is withing the realm of possibility that something that appears to be a copy is just purely accidental. Others have already pointed out that close examination reveals differences in design elements that were allegedly copied.
Please believe me when I say that I really don't mean to be rude, but this does betray a level of 'visual ignorance'. The same way that a carpenter can tell a good piece of wood by how it feels, or an arboriculturalist can tell an unhealthy tree by tiny spots on the leaves, a racing driver can tell whether his suspension is slightly soft and losing him a fraction of a second under braking or a bricklayer can tell a good job by a couple of mm in the width of the joints, in a weird, mad way, these things are important. Most people don't appreciate the time and effort that goes into something as simple as the right curvature on a corner or the width of a border. Apple do, because they are obsessive. I suspect Samsung do, because they are not otherwise a bad company, and they do understand design. They aren't as good at it as Apple, or HTC, but they do understand it.

Most people just have a sense when something looks right. They don't necessarily know why, but sometimes something looks so right that it looks effortless. So people think, "What's the big deal? Some curves here and there, an icon grid, it's obvious". it's actually not. It's kind of design nirvana to design something so well that there looks like no other solution.

This is the kind of thing that Samsung have ripped off without putting the effort in. Just like the school jerk who plays around in class and copies exam answers from the quiet nerd who has been working hard - it's stealing, and it's plain wrong.

Don't misunderstand, I'm not an archetypal Apple fanboi who thinks they can do no wrong. Apple Maps is a big problem, and Siri is frankly next to useless.
In terms of hardware design though, Jony Ive is a truly great designer. Because he makes stuff that is relatively cheap (in comparison to cars, boats and buildings) many people don't seem to appreciate quite how good he is.

Think about it, if the iPhone were a song, and the Galaxy S3 was just as similar, would this thread have gone on quite so long?
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