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Tom

Excellent article. Couldn't agree more. Reminds me of the Latin parsimony; "Entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity."

Ulysses or a newspaper

I'm not sure if this is really sound advice for a company... Yes the 'quality' is worse now, but safety is much better.

The companies primary goal is to make money and I'd argue that those investments in R&D -and the design metaphor more is better has worked for them very well. How much profit is there to be made on a safety razor? -One sale for life for the razor, and extremely cheap replaceable blades. I think your confused over what the goals of the R&D department actually are.

Whilst there are companies that specialise in the safety razor, consumers seeking the highest quality are always going to be small percentage, convenience, ease of use and safety will win out for most of the marketplace.

I'd be interested to hear what type of razor you use, because if it is a safety razor, you will no doubt realise it is not for everyone, and if you don't then you are being hypocritical.

(Full disclosure - I use a Gillette Aristocrat, Made in England)

ManxStef

The mention of five blades reminded me of this Onion article:
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/33930

(Caution: link contains strong language. And mild peril.)

It turned out to be quite prescient of them, as Gillette went ahead and announced the five blade model a year later. Oh, the irony.

M

Excellent. Reminds me of college when I took a design intro course that taught us our responsibility as designers to be responsible to our environment. Because often we do have a good deal of input about materials, both in quality and quantity of our products.

And by the way, amen on the 5 blade issue. I thought it was excessive when the triple blade came out. Now there are 5 bladed razors. Trying to find one with less than 4 is tough. When you get a cut with 1 it's bad...5? That much worse.

Mat

This is a glowing example of how advertising companies have a vice grip on designers and how designers are clearly doing nothing about it. If anyone had a conscience at Gillette, R&D or not, they would realise how ridiculous this is and speak up or just leave. Its nothing to do with the technology of the razor blade, its just one-upmanship in the world of advertising. No different to washing powder companies bringing out a "new and improved" version of the old powder. Why? Because its not selling as well as the competitor's. Edward Bernays has a lot to answer for.

claire

I recommend all chaps visit Trumpers, for a good old fashioned shave with shaving brush and blade.

al woods

Absolutely spot on again fella!!

I think the consumer is always 'thought' by the bods internally that they want flash, zing, bang, bop mega 'design' to jump out from the crowd. If this is so then why is it that every single person i know, designers or otherwise, want simple and straight to the point stuff (technical term).

I've always said, and still stand by it, that good design aint about what you put it but more about what you leave out.

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