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Brand Bible by Debbie Millman

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F39 Job:09-26878 Title:RP-Brand Bible
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BRAND BIBLE246
(Text)

When we started Smart Design in 1980, we began
with the premise of “designing for people,” which
the general design consultancies at the time were
not practicing. We had a conviction that we needed
to understand not only how a product works but also
how the body works, and how a person interacts both
physically and psychologically with a product. We
had been in business as consultants for ten years, and
we had previously done a lot of work with Corning, so
we knew housewares pretty well.
Sam Farber, OXO’s founder, called Davin Stowell—
apparently in the middle of the night—with this idea
of designing a line of housewares that would be func-
tional and usable by everyone, including people who
may have some physical challenges, like arthritis.
I had a masters degree in biomechanics, so I had a
good understanding of the body and the hand, and I
recognized that this was a great opportunity. Sam
had an idea and a clear vision.
22
how To Brand
usaBiliTy

Dan Formosa
Cofounder/
Smart Design
Creating objects that
are irresistible to touch
and exquisite to use
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247
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How to Brand Usability



People get used to seeing things in a certain way and,
as a result, theres no new life pumped into certain
categories. Like the carrot peeler, they are what they
are, and they’ve been that way for a long time. There
are still opportunities in numerous categories where
we’ve gotten so used to seeing things in a certain
way for such a long time that we stop thinking about
rethinking them.



At Smart, we never use the term “universal
design”—we actually try to avoid it. “Universal
design” gets interpreted as meaning one design
that should work for everybody. Our philosophy
is that design should be for everybody, but every-
body doesn’t necessarily need just one design. For
us, design is about eliminating segregation. We
shouldn’t articially divide people by design. People
will always have individual preferences on what
they like or dislike. But we believe people shouldn’t
be forced to use products and services that are being
designed for the people in the middle of the popula-
tion. Those may not suit the needs of the people at
the edges of the population.
At Smart, we are coming at this work from a dier-
ent angle: We think design in general should be
for everybody and that design doesn’t have to be
reserved for expensive stu. Design shouldn’t be
an elite enjoyment. We should be able to nd good

Handle prototypes

The iconic OXO Good
Grips handle
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