Asymmetry, ooooh, polarizing!

Why is it when designers propose solutions that are asymmetrical, non designers (and some designers as well) get scared? Is it because the human body is predominately symmetrical? Is it because of da Vinci’s fascination and documentation around proportion and symmetry outlined in the Vitruvian Man? Or are people just scared of something that isn’t centered?

Here are two examples of asymmetrical designs, one good and one, not so good. The good one has great fluidity and dynamism. Despite its asymmetry, the forms and detail have a great sense of balance. The bad example, looks like it may have started off in the right place, with a nice sketch, but then someone got scared and forced some symmetry back into the design. Notice how the keypad layout just doesn’t feel right with the asymmetrical gesture of the product. The end result is just bad.

“Designers” get bad reputations for producing a “bad design” when products like this hit the market. It’s unfortunate that the designer probably lost a battle or two in the process, resulting in a mixed message of design languages. Could it have been the March Marketing battle of 02 or the Stage 4 Showdown with PM? Since I don’t really know how this all went for Kyocera, it could have been the stubborn designer holding on to his or her “design gesture” from the sketch and desperately pushing it through, just to get it to market. If so, bad call.

Check out some nice concept work from KDDI, a Japanese phone manf working with the likes of Naoto and WaterStudio. Penck has a Pebl gesture. Dont know which one came first. Neon is the newest of the concept series. Hexagon is the phone I have shown above.  While I’m not a fan of the design itself, the study is gutsy; it’s bold and attempting to be simple at the same time.

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