Ive mentioned a few times before that I am a die-hard car guy. I love cars, and have held the interest my entire life. That love for cars led me to persue a career in automotive design during college (which I ultimately decided against), but I have always had great interest in beautiful cars.
But one thing that I’ve never had much interest in is customizing my cars (or other products that I own) to my own specific taste. Every car I have ever bought has remained stock – just as it came from the factory. To be honest, I have always thought this was kind of weird considering that I am a professional designer and I like to surround myself with beautiful things. Why am I against going against the grain and doing my own thing?
I was reading a few online car forums last night (as I always like to do in my spare time), and I had an epiphany of sorts as I was browsing through user-submitted galleries of customized cars. Basically, it comes down to this: most of the high-end things that I buy are carefully researched, and I have chosen them because I consider them to be finely designed products crafted by professionals who pour their blood, sweat, and tears into them to make them as good as they could possibly be. Why spoil that? As a designer, I know what it takes to develop a great product, and then watch in horror as users add their own personal flair to it. Most of the time, it evolves into something I no longer wish to have my name attached to.
Nearly everything I own is stock. My car, my phone – even the walls in my office are relatively bare. Of course there are exceptions, but nearly all of the time, I can’t bring myself to spoil the lines (or soul) of a great product that has had all of it’s parts designed from the ground up to work together in harmony with one another. And I tend to think that a lot of other designers feel this same way – at least the ones I have worked with over the years. Of all the people I’ve known in my life, I have noticed that it’s always the non-designers who are hell-bent on tinkering with things to “make them better”.
I think it would be fun to do formal research on this. But for now, I’m just glad that I am starting to understand the reasoning behind my nerdy behavior.