the front window

yo no encuentro mi espirógrafo

En Design Observer John Bowers saca algunas lecciones del espirógrafo, diseñado por Denys Fisher en 1962:

The still-popular, mass-produced toy from the 60s is the embodiment of controlled emotion in the face of the decade’s social unrest and conflict. The Spirograph promoted adherence to procedures and non-controversial design through a methodical process.

The design procedure is both methodical and repeatable, with the patterns yielding virtually exact copies by all users. The most fun for us came not by following the patterns or the rules but randomly mixing colors, moving the circles and rings at will, and placing lots of pinholes in our designs.

The Spirograph demonstrates, if not promotes, the belief that design can be formulaic and that good design has something to do with simplicity and objectivity. However, qualitative aspects such as emotion, irrationality, and instinct are largely missing. The patterns themselves make no direct reference to a user’s nationality, ethnicity, social class, or gender. Choices are officially confined to color and template combinations.

The focused geometric and rational visual language and limited plastic components restrict the range of outcomes and equalize abilities. It brings to mind a Swedish saying my wife told me: “Everyone wants you to succeed, as long as you’re not doing better than they are.” Our designs were original but not too original.