What's Your Favorite Design Trick of All-Time?

Don't you just love brilliant product design? For me it is my favorite place to find direct evidence of creative minds. And sometimes the cleverness of designers delights me beyond measure.

Broken by Design

One of my favorite design tricks comes from the simple Kleenex box. Nobody even seems to notice that it's "broken" on purpose.

The box works perfectly so that when you pull out a tissue the next one is pulled into place. Every sheet you pull sets the next one up without fail. It always works until it doesn't.

About two thirds of the way down the box there is one single sheet that does not overlap the next one. When you pull that one "broken" sheet out the next one stays buried deep within the box. You have to dig it out.

Invariably it reminds us that the box is almost empty and that we'll need to buy more. It also ruins the slot where the Kleenex comes out and makes us desire a newer "better" box

Did you know that this is on purpose? Genius!

Flawed by Design

When I was growing up we used to watch the movie Wizard of Oz together as a family. In one scene, way back in the forest background, there is a crew member that accidentally makes his way onto film. He's not supposed to be in the movie.

Every year we would watch for this moment and try to "catch" this flaw in the film. We would pay close attention and then take delight if we were among those who saw the fleeting moment while others would moan that they missed it.

I've always remembered how this flaw used to catch our attention. I've used it ever since.

Sometimes I'll leave a "flaw" in something I've designed on purpose. People will "catch" the flaw and then like to point it out to other people. It gets their attention, "Oh, yeah, I see that!"".

It's just a way to stick in people's minds.

Mommy Please

Tesla's are fast. VERY fast! And their designers are very clever.

There is a setting in Tesla cars that they have named "ludicrous mode". It is a software setting that puts the car into the fastest possible mode for the car. Naming the feature "ludicrous mode" wasn't good enough. They also added the following screen that requires the user to confirm their choice.


Do you have a favorite clever design idea?

Share your favorite on IndieHackers in the Comments

  1. 4

    Best Design:

    • Chemex Coffee Maker
    • Everything by Dyson (e.g. hand vacuum cleaner)
    • iPad Pro Magic-Keyboard
    • Vanmoof S3

    Worst Design:

    Book Recommondation: The Design of Everyday Things – Don Norman

    1. 2

      The Vanmoof S3 looks amazing. I've never seen it so thanks!

    2. 2

      👍 Haha! I forgot about the Magic Mouse!

      🤢☠️👎 Yes, please add the worst designs. This is fun!

  2. 2

    the tissue thing is really a mindblow

    1. 1

      💥 Don't you just love the genius of it?

  3. 1

    Worst Design:
    Let's not forget WIndows 8 and all the time it took when Update would make you sit for an hour while you were trying to urgently logon for something important!

    1. 2


      1. 2

        Vista was terrible! I liked NT 4.0 a lot better.

        Anyone remember Microsoft Bob?

        Or Clippy? Supposedly they are bringing Clippy back as an emoji. I wonder what it's meaning is supposed to be?

        1. 2

          Aww man I miss clippy. He was my main companion when 9 year old me was doing her homework on the beastly box of our old computer.

          As for Windows << I use it for work and thats it. My personal Desktop is Linux - Reason I switched = Last year I was working on an assignment when Windows decided to take 2 hours to do an update. I ended up falling asleep and when I awoke vowed I would switch to Linux once my assignment was complete 😀

          P.S that kleenex trick is a mind blow.

    2. 1

      And smudgy screens....

    3. 1

      This comment was deleted 3 months ago.

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