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Saturday, January 30, 2010

It’s official: I am a fan of Gary Hustwit.

I am also a Vespa scooter. But this has nothing to do with being a Hustwit fan.

Or maybe it has.

I was introduced to Gary Hustwit when I had seen his directorial debut, Helvetica, a documentary film about typography, graphic design, and Helvetica. The wealth of information and perspective that Helvetica had to offer, combined with Hustwit’s brilliant direction, was enough to convince me that documentaries don’t have to be boring. So naturally, when I came to know that Hustwit’s next documentary, Objectified, has been released, I couldn’t wait to see it.

Poster of the documentay film, Objectified

In simple words, Objectified is about objects and the people who design them. If you want to be more sophisticated, Objectified is about industrial design. And if you want to be more verbose, Objectified is about all the objects that we see around us, and discusses the way they are designed, the way they are used, the way they are valued, and the way they are discarded.

After watching this movie, you won’t look at any object the way you used to look at it earlier. Even if for a short while, you will wonder about the handle of your toothbrush, or the toothpick that you use, or the gadget that you buy, or the cars that you drive, or the chairs that you sit in. It’s simply amazing how all of the objects that we use everyday have gone through so many design iterations and changes and we don’t even think if there’s a complex design process associated with them. I mean, really, have you ever wondered why a spoon looks like the way it looks? Or more importantly, how a spoon was given the shape that it looks like? Someone, somewhere, had sat down and assessed the merits and demerits of a spoon’s shape, and even though it appears to be a trivial task, it is certainly not.

Just like in Helvetica, Gary Hustwit manages to bring some influential designers in Objectified too, and their comments and views are refreshing, entertaining, and thought provoking. Each and everyone of them has something unique to offer — I personally liked the design principles stated by Braun‘s Dieter Rams (examples: “Good design is honest” and “good design is as less design as possible”). There are discussions about an object’s sustainability and how it clashes with a manufacturer’s objective of selling, and people’s lenient attitude towards poorly designed objects. Also, being a software guy, I was excited to note the mention of software interfaces in Objectified, but then reminded myself later that software design is after all just a small topic under the vast umbrella of design.

Another interesting thought that I related to was stated by Rob Walker near the end, who noted that the objects that we really hold dear to ourselves are not necessarily those that are better designed, but those that have a personal story attached to them. Or, perhaps, they are those objects in which we see a bit of ourselves (this bit of wisdom belongs to yours truly, not to Rob Walker, so don’t take it too seriously). In fact, PBS even have an interesting quiz (which came online at the time of Objectified’s US television debut) that tells you which object you are. I turned out to be a Vespa scooter.

My result for the quiz, Which Object Are You?

I am actually quite pleased with the result; my late Nana ji used to drive a Vespa scooter.

So, anyway, you may or may not be a design buff, but if you get a chance of watch it, don’t miss Objectified.

And Gary, I am waiting for your third film.


design, industrial design, object

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Jan 30, 2010 at 4:34 pm

At work, so will come back to read.

But hey! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY to an update!

Ahmed Irfan Shafqat

Jan 30, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Amusing too.
I am inshallah going to watch this one.
I love this blog for its focus on quality of content rather than mere quantity.

P.S. Our Arshad Mehmood is also starring…you can see him at 1:22 in the above video :)


Feb 1, 2010 at 3:53 pm

I just love this post.


Feb 1, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Iam an iphone!


Feb 3, 2010 at 1:37 am

so you have a two stroke engine?? :P

i think id be a drill machine! :D


Feb 8, 2010 at 10:45 am

I’m an iPhone too… :-(

Very interesting post! As a calligraphy obsessed person, fonts hold their own place in my list of obsessions so I’ll go watch his previous movie as well. :-)


Feb 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Simply Brilliant!I would definitely be watching this documentary at the earlierst possible date. There have always been so many objects that have made me wonder who designed them and how. Someone somewhere sat and was struck by a brilliant idea, and invented/designed something. It’s really faascinating.

By the way, I am a coca cola bottle! Cannot say I am not happy about it:))


Feb 9, 2010 at 9:48 am

I am waiting!

Hehe. Yeah, I also thought at the first glance that he was Arshad Mehmood. He is David Kelly, actually.

Thank you. :)

Yay! What does it say about being an iPhone?

Haha! :P Why don’t you take the quiz to see if you really are a drill machine?

You didn’t like the result? Take the quiz again! I took the quiz 5 times and I was still a Vespa scooter — even with changed answers for some questions.

Yep. Fascinating, indeed. In fact, if Gary Hustwit had made this movie earlier, I might have pursued a degree in industrial design. Coca Cola bottle seems fun. :)

Imran Malik

Feb 18, 2010 at 12:21 am

m an iphone, at east u got rid of ur tum tum, cuz now u r tum tum urself.


Feb 18, 2010 at 5:14 am

matlab banday ko baar baar bolna parta hai kay post likho :P


Feb 18, 2010 at 11:17 am

I don’t know what I would be. But this sounds bloody interesting :/

They were going to show this to us in our design class.

And maybe that’s why I want to become an industrial engineer too. xD

Imran Malik

Feb 26, 2010 at 12:50 am

need to tell u too.

Sana Saleem

Feb 27, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Ahh! Its been so long since I dropped by here :D Feels great :) And I am a coca cola btw :D


Mar 6, 2010 at 5:08 pm

You’re an iPhone? Really? Take the quiz again!

Yeah. Something like that. :P

Oh yes, bloody interesting it is. Good luck with your ambitions. :)

Thanks for letting me know.

Feels great to see your comment too. :) Coke, eh? Seems to suit you.

Leena S

Mar 10, 2010 at 1:10 pm

u finally updated!!! :D
And I am the Rubik’s cube :)

[...] Life, meme, stupidity, vagabond. Leave a Comment I just love these quizzes! Just found one on Saadat’s blog, here’s my [...]


Mar 10, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Actually, I updated almost 6 weeks ago. :P Rubik’s Cube? You should be! :)


Apr 16, 2010 at 1:50 am

yaar matlab koee update shupdate? :P


Apr 16, 2010 at 10:07 am

Haha. Update shupdate will take its time. :P


May 6, 2010 at 8:28 am

Bit still, vayre iz da update shupdate!


May 7, 2010 at 9:32 am

It’s playing hide-and-seek with me, the update shupdate. :neutral:


Jul 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm


Any one home.


Jul 5, 2010 at 11:53 am

Yep, I’m home. :)

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