Artemy Lebedev

§ 150. Ad absurdum

July 8, 2008

One of the most effective techniques in design is trying to develop intrinsically inconvenient, overcomplicated and confusing solutions.

Lets say you need to design a perfect entrance to the store. What should you start with? First of all, the door should be hard to notice—it’s best if it blends into the wall. Secondly, it has to be difficult to get to. There are several ways to achieve this. Clearly, you should place the doorway two or three floors above the ground and put a climbing pole in front of the building. You should also think of those who can still make it up there and offer them no handle. It is preferable that the door would not easily open thanks to stiff hinges. And another good idea is using some original mechanism—for example, the door could slide way down from where it was.

How to make a perfect website? Long and impossible to remember URL is a must. The site has to be crammed with images, animation and ads. It would be nice to have all the information ripped into small pieces and throw in a great lot of crossed links. Hyperlinks are supposed to look just like regular text, and as to the meaning of it, aim for zero.

How about a perfect pencil? That’s an easy one: it should have its graphite core perpendicular to its body. And a cell phone could only be perfect if it had some forty button pushing moves to make in order to get to the right entry (it’s important that you work out all forty of them).

Any person to use this technique will soon find him/herself close to perfection. The most important step is to bring it all the other way around (which is, to our regret, something many designers forget to do).

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