Elegance Meets Common Sense

In tough times, companies can do well by making existing products better. Dutch Boy took the drippy metal paint can and made it easy to pour, to close, and recycle. Why did it take so long to put on a "lug" lip for drip-free pouring, make a screw-on lid, or attach a simple handle? They're all so obvious. The square pail makes scraping paint off the sides and bottom easier and leaves more room for advertising on the outside. Michael Graves designed a better paper shredder by creating a space at the top to throw out paper clips, fax cartridges, or any trash. Most shredders just shred. Another obvious move. Ditto for the milk carton. We all buy milk by fat content (skim, 1%, 2%, or whole), not by brand. So Capsule Design designed an uncluttered bottle for Schroeder Milk displaying just that. Birkenstock tried another strategy: extending its famous 200-year-old line of comfy footwear into urban markets. By working with fuseproject founder Yves Béhar and using both traditional and new recyclable materials, it created 35 fresh models for urban hipsters yet stayed true to its sole.

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