#144: Cutification

Grown-ups are strongly affected by the cuteness of children’s shoes. Stand outside any shoe shop with tiny trainers or slippers in the window and you’ll hear people of both sexes cooing about how they wish that they could buy stuff that was as cute for themselves. Baby toy manufacturers have always known that they need to exploit this, since their buyers are exclusively adults.

Partly, it’s the aspect ratio (kids’ shoes are essentially blobs) and partly it’s the feature density (I think a similar thing is going on when you notice you have just bought that £300 mountain fleece jacket -it is covered in a dense network of contrast-coloured ‘features’ -zips, tags, flaps, buttons, catches, patches, labels, seams etc.)

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The attraction of cute products is also, of course, an effect of small size: think how the Japanese interest in miniaturisation has affected a huge range of markets.

Today’s invention is therefore a cutification programme to be applied to lots of future products aimed at adults. Adult versions would be blobby, miniaturised, colourful and feature-rich. It might even be possible to apply a distortion program to help visualise the transformation of an adult product design into a new cutified version.

What else can explain the Nissan Micra?

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