Friday, January 14, 2011

When Shoe designers Take over Industrial Design


Does anyone remember when they first saw shoes looking like this?

It's as if 5 different high school grafitti artists handed in some scribbles and the company layered each set of veins, pimples, scales and chaotic lumps all over the shoe.





LUMPS ON WHEELS

It's strange enough that people would actually want to wear shoes covered with veins and scars but I never thought this design theory would start to appear on other things like this scooter above. And here's a how a reviewer describes it;

Segways and scooters definitely look fun to ride, but the vehicles -- despite all manner of possible modifications -- invariably carry a heavy nerd stigma. Benjamin Gulak and his BPG Motors company may challenge that stereotype, however, with the sleek and impressive Uno III. The adaptable vehicle actually morphs from an upright "Segway-like" mode into a horizontal, street-cycle position. Even better: it can apparently execute the conversion while in motion.

Inspired by the overcrowded and polluted streets of China, Gulak actually embarked on the Uno project as a high school student. Now, his collapsible baby can effectively fit in an elevator, and -- according to CNET -- will eventually boast a top speed of "about 35 miles per hour and have a range of about 30 miles." BPG intends to release the scooter-bike on a limited basis "in about a year," so, if you want to look really awesome in a 'Fast and Furious' nerd sort of way, you'll still have to wait a little while.


A pile of chaotic lumps that has no form or direction is considered "sleek".

I can't wait till our TVs, toasters, houses and wives are covered with veins, gouges and oil stains.

SLEEK WOMAN DESIGNED BY SHOE DESIGNER

55 comments:

thomas said...

not as bad but...

Olivier Vuillemenot said...

Gosh, the last image is disturbing, but not as much as the ones with the shoes.

Buying sport shoes is a great challenge for me, it's about finding the less ugly/shinny/ghetto style one. I already asked the seller : "why are they ALL ugly ?" The "I don't know" face as an answer was quite funny as well.

queefzilla said...

I don't know anyone who would wear these shoes haha. It's all about radii's today with the kids.

http://www.radiifootwear.com/shop/p-74-ecto-1.aspx

chris weagel said...

The excerpt mentions transforming while in motion which makes me think of George Jetson's car folding into a suitcase while he's driving.

jeffreyJack said...

Oh so true. I've never been able to wear veiny, warty shoes like that. I just can't imagine my feet being peaceful in them. Industrial designers also muck up vacuum cleaners with unnecessary add ons to make them look like time machines except all they do is suck dirt. Now if I could only unsee that last picture of the nerve ending fairy's washboard and blue spaghetti abs. The horror!

Iron maiden said...

That last picture is just horrifying!!!

mr paal said...

Pssh...my Chinese neighbour didn't need a sleek collapsible nerd-scooter. He just used to rev up inside the elevator then tear out of the doors & down the stairs leaving the lift & stairway full of exhaust. He had direction.

I think mobile phones, cars & trainers are all designed by the same lunatic.

Corbett Vanoni said...

When I was a kid, black on black sneakers were edgy.

A friend recently asked me to try and locate a particular type of sneaker based on a photo.
I tried searching the internet for images of sneakers but all I found were hyper-detailed, fluorescent colored turd piles.
Again:When 'designers' are given an infinite number of design possibilities and tools, they stop making creative decisions. They just say, "Hey, yeah! Throw it on the pile!"


PS: Good luck not looking nerdy going 30mph on a "sport" bike.

Bryan Wolfson said...

www.veinywoman.com

talkingtj said...

theses "shoes" are uncomfortable! they feel like concrete around your feet, the design was more important than the comfort and people eat it up! even collecting them! what a wacky world we now live in!

Jorge said...

Sorry, John, but I think that modern motorcycle design theory is cool. It reminds me of Jack Kirby's machines, but less blocky and more "blade-y"

Steven M. said...

I don't want to live in a world of lumpy, veiny, chaotic misery.

Adam Tavares said...

Shoe designers have to create a "brand" to fool their customers into thinking they didn't just buy another thick rubber film to place between their feet and the pavement and that their product is somehow different than their competitors.

That's what most industrial designers do these days anyway. They create "brands". They hide the fact that their "new" product isn't new in any meaningful way. Their real job is to bamboozle us with meaningless non functional details to differentiate this year's model from last's. The problem is those details just pile up as the years go by.

But the companies have to do it... they have to keep the illusion that things are progressing, otherwise they start losing market share.

And it's an attractive business model. Managers love rehashing the old because it's a safer and more reliable way to ensure money is being made.

REAL technological innovation is a long, hard, and risky undertaking. Long established companies don't do it. They have too much to lose.

Look at all the wacky car designs Chrysler put out ten or so years ago, "The Aztek", and "The PT Cruiser". They all had the same junk under the hood that they'd been putting in their cars for decades.

These bad designs are signs of companies getting old and dying.

kurtwil said...

Probably urban/graffiti influences on the shoe designers.

Visit any Adidas/Nike/Ascis/pick your shoe brand and you'll find at least half the shoes are aimed at court/street sport activities.

Business dress shoes, by comparison, are usually free of all this clutter.

BTW, CALARTS basement classroom's hallways are totally covered with graffiti. It wasn't on ceilings or floors while I taught there, but could be by now. Some students tried to "tag" elsewhere - that got cleaned up pronto.

John said...

I wish they had 'hi-tops' like that in the mid-80's so I could lace 'em up half-way and walk around with the long, garish shoe-tongue sticking out around the cuffs of my parachute-pants. I would have got so many chicks at the arcade.

Eri said...

That last photo is going to give me nightmares. :<

J C Roberts said...

It makes even less sense how many teens wear these things but almost entirely cover them up with pantlegs 8 sizes too big dragging on the ground.

Each new crop of kids wants their own style "statement", and it's gotten to the point where there's almost nowhere else to go but wackier.

Maybe it'll eventually come full circle and the kids will be walking around in short pants and knickers or wearing fedoras or derbys just to annoy their old hipster parents.

David Gale said...

Modern sneakers are both hideously ugly and impossible to draw.

marcushelbling said...

thanks, John!
That last picture scared the everliving hell out of me!

Kyle said...

I actually don't mind that motorcycle design, but yes those shoes are all kinds of ugly. I have the hardest time finding shoes. I like simple, but not too simple, its hard to find anything in between.

I had pair of Nike's black and white with just a hint of red near the bottom on the sides. I loved those. simple with a tiny bit of flair.

K-T said...

I wish you would put up some non-sleek shoes for comparison.

But yea, I hate the designs of most things nowadays. Especially phones.

martinus said...

A friend of mine says that he thinks all modern cars are based on crappy sports sneakers.

Landon said...

Why the hell should THIS matter? What, you want shoes to go back to looking bland & sterile? Seriously, I know this is about design, but why should you care about how shoes look?

Also, it's about time you over-obsessive whiners that comment woke up & smelled the coffee: THE PAST WASN'T ALWAYS GOOD AND TOMORROW'S NOT AS BAD AS YOU THINK IT IS. Granted, I have a biased view of today's society, I'm a fan of John K. and I don't usually follow modern trends, but at least I am open minded, unlike you people stuck in the 60s who kiss John K.'s ass like he's a god or something. Seriously, people, get a life.

Man, that last image WAS disturbing, though. Brain Bleach, please!

-jjmm- said...

I'll never understand it

John T. Quinn 3rd said...

I think this design sensibility began from the result of economic concerns and seeking more efficient use of materials. The factory can cut all of these little strips without too much waste left over. Also, the shoe manufacturer is able to make a vinyl or fabric shoe with touches of leather (to impact the perceived value of the shoe) as opposed to an entire leather upper.

I said " i think" because I am not certain and even if I was I don't think it would be the only reason for this aesthetic. I don't believe this design point of view developed for purely aesthetic reasons.

Forbidden Hippo said...

Christ! What are trying to do to me, I just ate!!!

Shoes and crummy motorcycles are one thing but what about cars? I am no gear head but I like me the look of a good ol' classic American car. I don't know what on Earth is going on underneath the hood but I drool whenever I see one unlike todays modern bore mobiles.

And forget about the new bat-mobile.

K-T said...

@Landon

It matters because we have to look at this crap on a daily basis, and it's ugly.

mike f. said...

Why the hell should THIS matter? What, you want shoes to go back to looking bland & sterile? ...it's about time you over-obsessive whiners that comment woke up & smelled the coffee: THE PAST WASN'T ALWAYS GOOD AND TOMORROW'S NOT AS BAD AS YOU THINK IT IS. Granted, I have a biased view of today's society... but at least I am open minded, unlike you people stuck in the 60s who kiss John K.'s ass like he's a god or something. Seriously, people, get a life.

Yup, he sounds open-minded to me.

Stephen Worth said...

THE PAST WASN'T ALWAYS GOOD AND TOMORROW'S NOT AS BAD AS YOU THINK IT IS.

It's much easier to think that when all you know about is the present. Some things, like science and technology have advanced. But if you think that creative popular culture is as good or better than in the first half of the 20th century, you just don't know much about the first half of the 20th century.

Mitch K said...

You can't even get a decent pair of exercise sneakers without looking like you're trying too hard to be cool.

I got an awesome pair of leather dress shoes from the Salvation Army for 9 bucks! They're my everydays.

Corbett Vanoni said...

Which of the shoes that John posted do you like and why, Land'O'Lakes?

I'm curious.

Iron maiden said...

by the way john whats going on with your spumco art book ?I mean we should at least get some news about by now

Copper said...

Maybe you could show us some shoe designs that you approve of?

Brian Romero said...

I don't think those kind of shoes are popular any more. No one I know wears them. I see a lot more retro inspired shoes like these:

http://suprafootwear.com/footwear/

blakeaj said...

This is why I hate going to the shoe store. There are so many hideous shoes!

You seem to have found some outstandingly ugly shoes, John!

As for the bike, I bet you would like the Harley Davidson (aka "chopper") design the best. A guy I went to work with (from your generation) loves them.

Gerber said...

For some unknown reason, sport shoe designers still consider cool those late-H. R. Giger-biomechanical-gone-fluorescent aesthetics that should have died with the nineties.

nick said...

i also believe running shoe designers and modern car designers are one in the same.

Trevor G. said...

I'm still hyperventilating from that veiny woman picture you pulled off the net. lol

I always wondered about those shoes. lol

Sleek means shiny now John. Get with it. If it shines, its sleek. Form? You're an artist. Don't push your understanding of appeal on me! Let them have their ugly bikes.

Nah, you're spot on about this hideous style. I like how you liken it to veins. lol You have a penchant for the gross. If somebody won't speak up against it, who will?! XD

Ross Irving said...

From these images, I begin to think that more people buy Old Converse shoes not to be trendy, but to get away from this kind of stuff. Just wish I could find some simple looking shoes that fit well. If I had to care more about shoes though, I would try to emphasis two, maybe three colors at the most and one strong detail, like a stripe.

That being said, the shoes you point to are now considered worst of the worst. Whatever shoes you have, there's a way of guaranteeing that you'll look spiffy. Spats!

Mattieshoe said...

Finding decent-looking shoes is always the hardest thing for me when I go shopping, The only ones I can track down that aren't either insufferably bland or downright hideous are usually Converse Chuck-Taylors, which I'm happy and relieved to see are quite popular.

But to be honest, even those are subject to some terrible modern design.

Erik B said...

I don't see any design at all...
it's a mess

maybe they make this stuf with these things...
http://www.fatbraintoys.com/toy_companies/klutz/klutz_spiral_draw.cfm

just do something and occasionaly something will come out..

Olivier Vuillemenot said...

By the way, the worst thing with these kind of sport shoes is that a lot of people forgot that they are made only for playing basket and wear them everyday in town. I even have a friend who asked me how I can bear to wear leather shoes everyday...

Guy said...

Yes, I agree, John. Shoes would be much better with fart clouds on them.

Pete Emslie said...

Gee, I dunno - I was thinking I might get that plaid pair with the raspberry syrup drizzled over them.

Pinhead said...

I just wear what fits and ain't outlandish.

And whoever designs these shows must design modern cars with their angles, creases, drips, and veins just plastered on to a blob. Though Chryslers aren't so hap hazard, not yet.

KW said...

Amen, brother, on your hatred of modern shoe design!

Carmine said...

LOL. I agree about that generic style of "active" sneakers.

I agree with jefferyJack's sentiment. As many times as I've been confronted with little other sneaker designs to choose from other than that design or type of design, I could never bring my self to purchase them for just plain bodily rejection, and this has been going on the past 8 or 9 years. That style of sneaker is hideous to me.

Kiavik said...

Luckily nobody wears those kinda shoes where I live. Everyone is into Converse and New Balance here.

Thiago Levy said...

I wear Havaianas flip flops. My feet looks better than that! It looks like a foot bikini. Great design!

His_Bevness said...

Re: the sneaker/trainer design - tell me about it!!!

Ive just taken up running with the goal of running a marathon in the next 12 months. I went into my local running store and it took me about an hour to pick a pair of shoes. The thing is, modern running shoes really are amazingly designed from a science/comfort point of view but who thinks up these designs? It was like trying to pick which colour of turd to stand on.

In the end I went for a pair of Nike, which to their credit are quite nice looking. Asics were definately the ugliest.

I should point out that not all trainers (i'm british) are heinous, ugly beasts. Running shoes (your examles) are DEFINATELY the worst for some reason.

Martin Juneau said...

Those example of edgy shoe designs are quietly ugly. Normally, i like better when it come to one main colour when i recommand more the black/dark shoes who being less dirt than the white/light shoes. The only exception goes to a pair of sneakers i buying years ago but not exactly for working, but more for street activites.

I still have this sneakers but this is the first time i notice how many colours have those sport shoes. We buying very expensive since i wanted a good quality pair and not buying cheap and then broken months after. But now i wear more and more boots (winter and normal boots) since it's a bit trendy currently, muchly for girls. Guys still have sneakers in feet, summer like winter. I always hate see sneakers in winter.

Sherm said...

Holy crap, I hate this stuff, too. I finally found you CAN still find normal sneakers at Zappos...stuff like this: http://www.zappos.com/puma-the-suede-elephant-grey

R said...

The tackiest thing is I have seen business professionals sport shoes like that with a suit and tie and think it is perfectly acceptable.

Johnny said...

Most kids now wear Vans/Converse or Toms.

Real simple shoes.

Johnny said...

@ JC Roberts

I went to the mall for the first time in years this past Christmas.. and nobody is wearing baggy anything anymore.

Seems like skinny jeans are the norm now.