Synopsis: A feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Gary Hustwit
Production: Plexifilm
Rotten Tomatoes:
75 min

We work as consultants, which means we work with

a lot of different companies in a lot of different fields

But really our common interest is in understanding

people, and

what their needs are. So if you

start to think, really what these

do as consultants is focus on

people, then it's easy to think

about what's needed design-wise in the kitchen, or

the hospital, or in the car.

We have clients come to us and say, here's our

average customer, for instance she's female,

she's 34 years old, she has 2.3 kids. And we listen

politely and say, well that's great but

we don't care about that person. What we really

need to do to design,

is look at the extremes, the weakest, or the person

with arthritis, or the athlete,

or the strongest or the fastest person. Because if

we understand what the extremes are,

the middle will take care of itself.

These are actually things I haven't seen in

We tried to use less material, like here's one that's

hollow inside.

A good friend of mine, Sam Farber, he was

vacationing with his wife, Betsy.

I got a phone call one night, he was so excited he

said he couldn't sleep.

And what he was excited about was he'd been

cooking dinner with Betsy and she was making

an apple tart. And she was complaining about the

peeler, that it was hurting her hands.

She had arthritis, and she just couldn't hang on to it.

And it hit Sam at that moment

that here's a product that nobody's really

thought about.

And our thought was, well if we can make it work for

people with arthritis, it could be good for everybody.

We knew that it had to be a bigger handle. Kids

have big crayons because they're easier

to hold onto. It's the same thing for somebody that

might not have full mobility of the their hand,

they need something a little bit larger, that's a little

easier to grip with a little less force.

So we did a lot of studies around the shape of the

handle, the size of it, to come up with a size

that would be perfect for everybody.

But eventually we found a rubberized bicycle grip,

and we basically did this.

So, it really goes through many, many, more

iterations than you would think

to do a handle that's relatively simple in the end.

I think one thing with a hand pruner is that you have

this constant friction happening

when you're closing it.

But I feel like here's the spot that really hurts, this is

the biggest pressure point for me.

So it's like here in this area, on all four fingers,

you have friction.

So when we start out doing a project, looking at

these different tools to understand

how we can design a better

experience for someone,


So what we did here was to map it out, when we did

the exercise with the glove, understanding where

the pressure points are, then we go into this

process of developing models of some of the ideas.

One thing we realized with this model, if you

compare with other hedge shears, a lot of them

just have a straight handle, you don't have any

control over the weight. So if you're cutting

far down, you have to squeeze harder to hold the

tool in place, otherwise it's going to slide

out of your hands. So by sculpting this handle area,

it locks your hand around this form,

so you have to squeeze less, so you have a really

secure grip.

We're really at the final stages of our design here,

where we put them into a place where we can

control them much more closely to get them ready

for manufacture, and that is known as CAD

or Computer Aided Design.

It's very important that we

constantly are verifying our CAD

with physical models.

Once you get into that, we use a set of technologies

that are called rapid prototyping,

so we can really finely control the ergonomics of

these parts.

So there are the two halves that come out of the

machine, and you can glue them together to make

an entire handle, and attach them to prototypes

such as this so we can go out and feel the

comfort and work with it, and make sure our CAD

model really represents our design intention.

The way we think of design is, let's put great design

into everyday things,

and understand how to make these gadgets

perform better.

And that's what we're always looking for whenever

we design are ways we can improve

the way people do things, or improve their daily life,

without them even knowing it or thinking about it.

Japanese gardeners, the bonsai must be cut in

a way,

that a small bird can fly through it. It's nice, isn't it?

But all the other trees, you also have to cut them.

It's much more so, in Japan. They have to cut them,

they have to...

we would say... to design them. But why are we

doing all this?

We are doing a lot, to design our world now, we

even design the nature.

I remember the first time I saw an Apple product.

I remember it so clearly because

it was the first time I realized, when I saw this


I got a very clear sense of the people who designed

it and made it.

A big definition of who you are as a designer

is the way that you look at the world.

And I guess it's one of the curses of what you do,

you're constantly looking at something and thinking,

why is it like that? Why is it like that and not

like this?

And so in that sense, you're constantly designing.

When we're designing a product, we have to look to

different attributes of the product,

and some of those attributes will be the materials

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Objectified" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 Apr. 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/objectified_15062>.

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