Vellum Venom Vignette: World Industrial Design Day

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

This Sunday is World Industrial Design Day, a day when the ID Community brings awareness of this profession’s value. Though I left The College for Creative Studies with my tail between my legs, ID’s blending of business/entrepreneurship, art and science still charms me. So let’s examine two ignition keys that owe their existence to the craft known as industrial design.

The BMW i8 is a revolutionary piece of Transportation Design. The i8’s key is no slouch in the Industrial Design department. Without rehashing what others say, it’s clear that Industrial Designers took the best attributes of the i8, the smart phone and today’s latest ignition keys to make something stunning.

Not to mention the i8’s key fob has a style that looks great in your hand and (sorta) blends into the assertive wedge forms present on the i8 console. It’s a great piece of Industrial Design that forces you to consider how an Industrial Designer enriched your automotive hobby/career.

Take the Ford Pinto “utility” key for example. In some respects the Ford Pinto was an underrated piece of Engineering and Industrial Design. Sure, it needed that rubber pad to protect the gas tank from the rear axle. But when it comes to simple, durable and honest Design, the Pinto worked.

Certainly not VW Beetle stylish nor Honda Civic enlightened, but dig this key: once cut for your ignition this baby gapped spark plugs, screwed down anything under the hood, let you crack open a beer and then fire up the beast so you can drive with a cold brew in your hand while you keep on truckin!!!

Perhaps I got that last part wrong, so I am ready for the Best and Brightest to correct my weak Nixon Era Ford knowledge. But the Pinto utility key looks like the coolest gadget to have in your pocket in the early 1970s. What the hell is an Apple iPhone anyway? Sounds like gibberish talk of those nattering nabobs of negativism!

Just make sure you know which gap on the gapping tool is the right one for your engine.

Nice job integrating the Pinto logo and patriotic color scheme on a tool that elegantly and cheaply combines many things into a small hunk of metal. And that’s the heart of Industrial design: it plays a crucial role in dreaming, engineering (in theory) and producing exceptional products. The bottle opener is a bizarre feature by today’s standards, but it proves yesteryear was a simpler and stupider time.

And the Pinto/i8 keys do show how Industrial Design advanced over the decades. So to you, dear reader, Happy World Industrial Design Day!

Thank you for reading and have a fantastic weekend.

[Images: BMW]

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • MK MK on Jun 27, 2014

    Sanjeet, I love you man but if you think a friggin "key/fob" thingy the size of fuggin GEARSHIFT is brilliant industrial design....man I don't know what to tell you other than some introspection about your departure from design school might be worthwhile....( those BMW designers must've had better connections!) ;) Son,that's absurd. This is just tech wanking for the sake of tech. I'm no ID grad but I can think of several better ways to do this without carrying around a gear shift in my pocket......hang. On......maybe that's it? Impress the lads and ladies with your i8 pocket pal? Lol Give me a regular old key any day over this crap.....and get off my lawn.

  • John John on Jun 30, 2014

    "Is that a gearshift in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"

  • Probert When I hear the word "patriot", I think of entitled hateful whining ignorant traitors to democracy. But hey , meant to say "Pass the salt."
  • Lou_BC A brand or inanimate object isn't patriotic. A person can buy said object based upon patriotism. I'd prefer to buy local or domestic. Is supporting one's fellow countrymen patriotic or logical? I'd rather buy from an allie than a foe. Is that patriotic or logical?
  • Ajla I don't have any preference on vehicle assembly beyond that it not be built in a handful of certain nations that I don't like for nonautomotive reasons. However, I don't think the "patriotism" survey had as much to do with assembly as it did with iconography. Which might be a more interesting question.
  • Verbal "Automakers also appear to be continuing to push higher-priced vehicles with larger margins, rather than trying to meet demand for their more-affordable models."What more-affordable models would those be? In the case of the domestics, there aren't any. They cut almost all of their passenger car lines to focus on high-margin pickups and SUVs. On one level this makes sense. If I earn low margins on some of the vehicles I make and high margins on others, just stop making the low margin ones and the problem is solved, right? Except the average buyer can't afford, nor do they even want, to buy an $80,000 truck.
  • Tane94 I doubt we see the 0%/60 month summer financing deals this year with the Fed not cutting interest rates so far this year. The deal was very common on model year leftovers pre-pandemic.
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