What do lip balm, wallets, and a bar of soap share in common? These days, they each show up sometimes as poorly designed forms of products that are already simple and work well. It’s complicating the simple.
Lip balm in the capped, twist-up, round tube applicator (like Chap Stick) is easy and quick to use. The twist-off top, toothpaste tube that needs squeezing (think Carmex in a tube) is both harder and slower to use. What’s really a step backwards are the lip balms in tins and plastic eggy shapes require using your finger as an applicator. What’s up with that?
Then there’re credit card holder style wallets. You need to tri-fold bills to cram ’em in with the cards that are already crammed in there. Is that really an advance over a thin bi-fold wallet? The bi-fold wallet is quick and easy to use and you can easily see all your dough.
And finally, bar soap in the shower. Why replace a simple invention with a more expensive and less efficient plastic bottle of liquid soap. Using liquid shower soap even winds up wasting water since you need extra time and steps to wash each area of your body.
I guess these steps backwards stem from our desire for something different and from advertising that creates a need where no need existed before. But actually simplicity is the highest form of sophistication.