“The details are not the details”


I recently got a netbook. It’s great, I love it – brilliant form factor, amazing battery life, and perfectly fine design. Except for one tiny detail, and that irritates me no end.

The Samsung logo is printed under the screen, and slowly but surely, it’s rubbing off. Whenever the screen is shut, a tiny bit is rubbed off on the opposite side of the product, just above the keyboard, on a sharp ledge. I have a small strip of mirrored Samsung logo, and a line missing from the logo itself. I’d happily remove the whole logo (and I will), but it annoys me because it’s indicative of… I don’t know. A lack of testing? Miscalculated or unconsidered tolerances? Did they forget that the logo clearly has some thickness? that the paint/ink isn’t magically permanent? That a sharp edge might be, well, sharp?

Similar examples: my thinkpad’s red pointer (“nipple”) makes a neat, round mark in the middle of the wonderfully hi reolution screen. Some (older?)  macbooks (ibooks, powerbooks) always had a crisp, clean, keyboard pattern pressed into their screens. It’s the flipside of BMW’s fabled sound-engineered door slamming sound. It doesn’t matter… but it does.

The product as a whole is remarkably well constructed and manufactured – no creak or uneven splitline anywhere to be seen. I’d even go as far to say that overall, it’s pretty well designed, visually as well as functionally, although Ive and Jobs don’t need to worry quite yet. As Charles Eames’ oft quoted phrase puts it so well, “The details are not the details. They make the design.”

And although this particular detail may be minor, inconsequential even, it still bugs me.

← Back to the latest posts