Choices, Choices – How does one Choose Anymore these Days?

The consumer market today is saturated with limitless options. Whatever it is one needs – be it food, experiences, products, treatments, prospective partners… They come in the hundreds, in all shapes and sizes, prices, and from all corners of the globe. Plus, they are even accessible at one’s fingertips, without any need to go hunt physically.

Need a table lamp? Do a search on google and you will be rewarded with about half a billion results, in less than a second. Go to a physical store, the situation may be a little better – you’ll be confronted with maybe just 50 or less depending on where you go – by multiple brands, in various shapes, sizes, prices, colour, customization options… Try getting toilet paper – you could be stuck for hours.

The same goes for virtually anything else one may need today.


We See, but We No Longer Understand.

One consequence of this seemingly unending, vast and abundant number of options is an increasingly huge gap of understanding between consumers and products found on the market today.

The virtual availability at our fingertips of thousands of options on the internet further widens this chasm, and the sheer quantity has reduced our basis of comparison to mere appearances and price tags. Us overwhelmed consumers often think – the smaller the number, the better! When paired with an appealing packaging, though not necessarily quality, the decision is often made with disappointment lurking not far behind.

One of the greatest frustrations of all is trying to learn how to do something that seems completely arbitrary and capricious. – Don Norman

The consequent paradox of choice further disillusions what was once used to be satisfying buying experiences.

As a Designer, looking superficially at one object out of hundreds that look similar, if not the same, tell me nothing about why they should be ‘the right solution’ for a client. I do not refer to objects selected at random, nor objects selected simply because they are cheap, not because the neighbor has it, not because it has been used in a previous project, not because it is currently ‘trending’, and certainly not because it happens to be in a ‘fantastic’ colour.


Far from Random, Choices are Properly Examined

An object or product is always selected for specific needs that (are usually) pre-defined during the initial design phase suited to a client’s context. With needs clearly defined, every aspect of a product’s function, tecnology, size, material, price is deliberated in terms of suitability. It is also often a decision driven by pre-existing site conditions which could be either negotiable or non-negotiable. 

For this to be possible, the product has to first be examined closely with considerations that go deep beyond the surface appearance of colours and finishes. The trick –

You must be able to articulate what is it you need to accomplish (without objectifying what you think you need), and know how much you are willing to fork out for it.


What Makes a Truly Successful Designer

The mark of a truly successful Designer lies in the ability to combine the best price: function: aesthetics choices in making the optimal decisions on their client’s behalf, with the ability to source from across high-mid-low solutions available, knowing where to save on, and what to actually invest in to maximize value.

“The mode of action by which a design fulfills its purpose is its function”.

– Victor Papanek

In this category, I wish to share the happy discovery of the true purpose of selected objects which are oftentimes seen only for its ‘Designer’ status and price tags. Looking past the superficial into the thought process and journey to existence, the functions which they were meant to serve – let’s just say if price were not a barrier, they are certainly worthy investments.

In support of great philosophies that make this life on earth a meaningful, comfortable, one.

The writer is an Interior Designer on the journey of discovering a world of intelligence hidden in plain sight, on a mission of converting the #designblind to #designconscious