“Taste and Design: the two words distinguish consumers from producers. We taste, they design. But designers also have taste in their own work, and what the Vaio Z’s designer doesn’t get is the difference between good taste and good design,” Rob Beschizza writes for Boing Boing. “Taste often describes flavors, appearances and forms; it blends into fashion, which spins as fast as people can spend their money. Even the classics shift as priorities change; something may be tasteful but irrelevant. Design, however, also concerns itself with function. If a design fails to encompass good taste, the result will be ugly. But if taste fails to encompass good design, it’ll be useless.”

“Talking about another Sony laptop that buries functionality under tasteful appearances and spec sheets, it’s not hard to see the point in all this. Together with the marketer’s remarks, however, this got me thinking about how little Apple cares about taste, a quality almost universally attributed to it,” Beschizza writes. “It will even embrace tastelessness in pursuit of what it regards as good design: if you assume otherwise, perhaps you’re forgetting about all that brushed metal, pleather and baize stretched over iOS. Some of its most heavily-marketed user-interfaces are almost as tasteful as those in games you can buy in jewel cases at Wal-Mart.”

“Unlike the menu system of 1001 Card Games, however, this is not to say they are badly designed,” Beschizza writes. “Bad taste can illustrate great art and design, even in the most mundane contexts. Cheesy textures, for example, can make an app’s function clearer in screenshots, without having harmed the functionality of the apps… Sony’s not alone in proving that good taste is no guarantee of good design. See Windows Phone 7, for example. It’s beautiful. It’s in excellent taste: minimalist, smoothly-animated, yet bold and experimental. But when we ask why something so well ‘designed’ is failing to catch on, we’ve already pulled the wool over our eyes.”

Beschizza writes, “Apple competitors are obsessed with copying Apple’s tastes without copying its central design habit, which is solving a problem and then refining the solution until the problem changes. And that’s the difference between the Vaio ultraportables and the Air: Apple stuck with Sony’s solution and refined it, whereas Sony threw it the trashcan in 2005, 2008, 2010, and (spoiler!) 2012.”

Much more, including photos, in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take:

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Daniel N.” for the heads up.]