Designers on What They Would Redesign

What would you redesign?

How computers plug into power
“The way computers and digital devices get electricity. The whole way you plug things in is just a mess. The cords keep changing. I bought two new Apple plugs yesterday. It’s absurd. Stop changing it all the time. You get a sense these products have been conceived and designed and manufactured and marketed and retailed by just a chain of sadists.” —Eric Rodenbeck, CEO and creative director, Stamen Design
Data centers
“It would be interesting to redesign buildings that don’t have a long history. … Some of these boxes that are connected to the new tech companies, like the data center, or these big storage [centers] that companies like Amazon have and are right now completely in the background.”—Ada Tolla, co-founder, LOT-EK
Health care
“I’m fascinated by how we can continue to humanize health care. It’s increasingly complicated, it’s increasingly overwhelming, it’s increasingly difficult to be a person in the system.” —Paul Bennett, chief creative officer, IDEO
The acoustic guitar
“I’m looking at 3D printing an acoustic guitar. What happens when you completely have a carte blanche on how you design it? 3D printing might augment something that already exists, but because of the versatility that it offers, take it to a place it could never have gone before.” —Scott Summit, director of technology, Bespoke Products, 3D Systems
Census data
“I would like someone … to try to standardize all the data gathered by the census bureaus in different countries. Put all that data together with data from other organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations and transform it into graphics and maps and diagrams that can be used by anybody in the world so they can compare the state of different countries. That would be a dream come true for me.” —Alberto Cairo, professor, School of Communication, University of Miami
The e-book
“I’m really disappointed in the level of craft in the rendering of text to read electronically. For example: If you read a lot of genre fiction, there’s a lot of stuff that is about what happened in previous books, and not wanting to go to Wikipedia where it tells you the plot of the book that you’re in the middle of reading—but having some notion of progressive disclosure in there. Being able to both leave those notes yourself but being also able to find them. They’re doing such a bad job of recreating the physical book—let alone taking advantage of the fact it’s electronic—that it’s kind of mind-boggling.” —Michael B. Johnson, lead and story/editorial technical supervisor, film on-line group, Pixar Animation Studios
“For various financial or political reasons, cities have not been able to keep up with the way that human beings want to live. You see the technological imprint of the automobile on cities. I think Portland [Ore.] is doing it right. They had the foresight to establish guiding principles for how their city was going to grow.” —Gregg Heard, vice president for brand identity and design, AT&T

“Brownsville is one of the most underserved neighborhoods in New York City, and in the past year or two there has been a lot of discussion about how social services could be rethought to make them economically viable and networked together to provide services residents really need.” —Glen Cummings, principal, MTWTF

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