Bic Pen

 
 
Photo Courtesy of: http://ninfield.wordpress.com/2008/07/31/design-classics-the-bic-crystal-ballpoint-pen/
 

Ah, the Bic pen. Where would we be without it? Yes, it has its quirks,  but the true testament to its design excellence is in its legacy.

Aesthetics 

Let’s first address the crystal aspect of the pen. I am not sure that it was necessary to have that portion of the pen be transparent. Although it is honest I would prefer to keep the object more simple in appearance Is it necessary that the barrel be transparent? No, but I am not writing a roast here so let’s look at the positives. I know what you are thinking, “Trent, maybe the transparency is there so that you can see when the ink is running out so that you can go out a buy a replacement.” I would agree. Aesthetics are not everything and sometimes the way an object or interaction performs is the beauty of it.

Usability

You pick it up, take the cap off, and write with it. Beautiful. Yes, sometimes you have to scribble with it to get the ball primed, but beyond that it works great. I love Bic pens. I think the real beauty of these pens is that they are inexpensive and have been around forever.

Successes

For a design to sell effectively for over 50 years is truly amazing. I can’t think of too many other consumer products that can boast that kind of batting average.  The design is honest and has stood the test of time.

Summary

It does have its quirks and the aesthetics could be improved, but with its track record would you really want to touch it? I wouldn’t.  There is too much of an emotional tie to it by its users. Think of Coke when they tried to change to a new flavor. Not good. I love my Bic pens and my Coca- Cola just the way they are thanks.

Coming next week:

Design Review of ? Any suggestions?

I have been a bit remiss in my postings recently due to the fact that I have been swamped, but I will get back on schedule. Enjoy!

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Comments
4 Responses to “Bic Pen”
  1. How about – Pontiac Aztek — Promising concept gone bad or Disruptive Design Derailed

    – considering that this could have been a huge success if not so horribly bastardized. I wonder what lost potential was smothered as it hit the streets. This frumpy little vehicle could have been the cousin to the Cadillac or the Konstantin Grcic Chair One, but instead it remain as an example of muddled vision. _

    • Daniel: Thank you for reading the post. I am not sure about the Cadillac comment (not much of a GM fan), but I am in agreement with the Aztek comment. Funny you should mention the Aztek because I did a design roast on it recently, Check it out: http://wp.me/pYCbe-1T
      I will add Chair One to my list. Thanks again! Happy Reading!

  2. Matthew Stonecash says:

    Thanks for an interesting post. Something that we’re surrounded by all the time but rarely stop to think about. One thing that sticks out to me as a flaw is the approach of making a disposable product out of materials that last for hundreds of years (if they aren’t incinerated for us to breathe). I’d suggest material selection as an area for improvement. I know I may be waiting a while to see something new on the shelves though.

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