The Difference Between Design and Aesthetics

I try to stick my USB cable in upside-down about 18 times a day. That’s probably 30 seconds wasted each day, 3.5 minutes a week, over 3 hours a year that I spend jamming a plug the wrong way into a hole. I could have spent that time sleeping.

The USB plug is a fine example of poor design.
usb plug
It’s not my fault I keep trying to plug in my phone charger upside-down. The human brain is actually very well-designed, no matter how you might suppose that design came about. There is no such thing as human error, only design error. A USB plug could be greatly improved if it came with “THIS SIDE UP” written across the top, but that would not be aesthetically pleasing.

Here is an example of good aesthetics:


It’s a row of tuba-shaped urinals in a jazz lounge restroom. Beautiful, right? But terrible design. Urinals are supposed to have backboards for users to take bank shots. I don’t have a lot of personal experience, but I assume it’s quite difficult to get a direct shot after a night of Irish Car Bombs. That’s gonna be really hard to clean up.

Don’t sacrifice design for aesthetics.

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