Creator of the bagless vacuum cleaner and all-round design guru James Dyson tells us what makes a great product
A great product has to have more than good looks
The technology’s got to be right; it’s got to be beautifully engineered and it’s got to last, it’s got to give you pleasure, it’s got to do all of the things it’s supposed to do. [Holds up a BlackBerry Curve] I use one of these and I don’t like the way it looks but it works terribly well. The iPhone, on the other hand, looks wonderful but frustrates me beyond measure. I’d never email on it because I haven’t had a nipple grafted on to my finger.
I design a lot of things that aren’t very good
I tend to design everyday objects and a lot of them aren’t very good. It’s nice if it surprises people; if it wasn’t something which market research could have devised. It’s surprising, slightly shocking and thrilling, and, in a tiny little way, changes people’s perceptions on things.
I like my vacuum cleaner the best
I like the hand drier Dyson Airblade because it solves what was an infuriating problem. But I like the vacuum cleaner the best. It’s a problem child that I’ve spent a large part of my life working on, and I’m still working on it.
Nanotechnology is the next big thing
Materials haven’t changed much for years and years, but nanotechnology will yield some exciting changes, transforming materials as we know them today. They won’t just make things lighter and stonger: a paint containing nano particles of carbon could turn a building or a car into a photovoltaic cell, allowing it to power itself.
People make design iconic
It’s usually a turning point – when people’s perception of something changed. The Mini bumbled along for 9-12 months without much notice. Then Margot Fonteyn put wicker work on the outside of her black one and drove it down the King’s Road, and suddenly everyone started buying it. There needs to be something to trigger the change.
Check out the October edition of Stuff magazine for the whole interview, plus our Greatest Gadget Icons