Affordable design != Bad design

I’m a big fan of brands that offer basic and minimalistic design products like Ikea and Uniqlo. A lot of the furniture in my current apartment comes from Ikea, and I love mixing with other family hand-me-downs, and creating a balance between the minimalist and the pieces with a clear signature. I’m also a big proponent of buying clothing that doesn’t cost much. The baseline for me is that the design suits my aesthetic, and I know the brand operates operates on responsible and sustainable values. Both Ikea and Uniqlo offer great baseline products that allow everyone to customize (by picking colors, materials, shapes) and make them unique and their own.

The usual correlation between low price and quality is something that really gets to me. A product that features a great design and sells at low cost should translate as a product were great care was given to design, manufacturing, marketing and distribution. That’s good design. Of course a product that sell at a low price can often mean that a lot of corners were cut in the process: copying design from others, sourcing manufacturing by use of cheap labour, etc. But I believe the end consumer has the responsibility of making sure they’re not contributing to the growth of questionable brands.

Affordable design was the premise behind the work of a lot of great physical product designers, but once they found a space and fame their work was slapped with a high price tag. The brand price tag.

That’s why I love affordable design products. You are able to customize it your way, and make it look great, experiment, and even fail. If it doesn’t work you can keep trying, and you won’t get stuck with something you don’t love.