Why do people not think aesthetics are important?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by drjsway, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. drjsway macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2009
    After reading through the umpteenth "Macs are just overpriced fashion accessories" thread, my question is: what if they are?

    Let's ignore every other argument for macs (OS X, build quality, etc.) and just focus on design. Does design itself justify the price premium? If not, then why not?

    Apple has always marketed itself to artists and other creative professionals. Anybody with an ounce of creativity would make design the main priority when purchasing a computer. People pay millions for a Picasso painting just because it's aesthetically pleasing, yet Apple charges a small premium for their design and they are overpriced?

    Do you all shop at Old Navy and Walmart? None of you have splurged on a $200 pair of jeans, a $500 shirt, or a $2,000 suit? Would you buy an ugly couch (or other piece of furniture) if it could save you some money? Would you buy an ugly house if everything else about it was okay? Would you buy an ugly car if it were cheaper?

    Some people would and that's okay. Some people have no artistic sensibilities. But macs sell well because people embrace its style. The geeks who wear oversized T-shirts every day should be aware people find this important in a product they use daily.
  2. Sneakz macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Do I think design justifies premium? Hell yeah. It's why I'll keep waiting for Arrandale as opposed to buying something else.
  3. Nein01 macrumors 6502


    Dec 1, 2009
    being creative/artistic doesn't necessarily mean that you're more likely to value aesthetics over fuctionality--that is quite a ridiculous idea--and in fact the opposite is more often true of real artists. braindead consumers are the ones who would buy a $200 pair of jeans, a $500 shirt or a $2000 suit, not artists.
  4. Cali3350 macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2009
    Design is not set in stone, its individual. I personally think the Sony Vaio Z is prettier than the Macbook Pro 13", and that the Asus UL30A-A2 is prettier than anything Apple offers.
  5. digitalField macrumors regular

    May 21, 2004
    Good question to ask.
    I like alot of what you had to say just wanted to add a couple bits..

    a huge portion of the country looooves shopping at walmart and oldnavy, which tends to mean that price over quality is a priority for them.


    your initial question is about aesthetics.. which has to do with the conversation about beauty, which being in the eye of the beholder is a debate that can go on forever.. but what i think Apple dos really well in their design/hardware, which is why i think people are willing to pay a premium, is for their industrial design.

    i draw the distinction because often people call Apples laptops just pretty.. when in actuality that is selling it short because really the aesthetics choices were made to solve problems and provide solutions. Which is what makes for good industrial design.

  6. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    ...And then on top of aesthetics, or what you call a good industrial design, you have a Unix-based OS. The robustness of the platform is what constitutes its strong appeal. The fact that it also looks attractive is an added bonus. It is likely that not too many people would be buying pretty laptops that have some of the same issues shared by the other non-OS X laptops.
  7. bluefox9er macrumors regular

    Jan 28, 2010
    because they have unattractive wives/girlfriends/boyfriends/husbands?
  8. mesq macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2010
    OP: You try very hard to be cool and fit in don't you... Probably one of those dudes who works on his script at the trendy cafe, hoping that a hot chick says "oooh love your unibody macbook pro"...

    The mbp are very sexy though both in look and feel. Whenever I am around one I can't stop touching it...:D
  9. tkboss88 macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2009
    well to answer your question.....

    why isn't the world more vain than it already is? well... in the US anyways...
    not everything is about looks buddy... yes looks are a plus, but i would pick a freakin super fast computer over a sexy slow one ANYDAY.

    there's a saying and it goes something like this: "Don't judge a book by it's cover" maybe you heard this before. don't judge just by the way it looks, specs are way more important than the exterior.
  10. drjsway thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2009
    Real artists don't value aesthetics? Spoken like someone who has never met a real artist. I grew up in SoHo around all the art galleries and I'm now a filmmaker in Los Angeles. Aesthetics are the first thing an artist looks for when buying ANYTHING.

    While designer clothes may or may not use better materials, most of the premium is in the design. And if you don't see the value in that, you're not seeing the creativity that went into the design. Are braindead consumers also the ones who buy paintings?

    Sony's Z series looks nice, which is why it's priced similarly to macs. I was tempted for a long time to buy a Dell Adamo XPS for its design. If you're not aesthetically inclined, that's fine, but I started this thread because some of you think it's somehow stupid (or shallow) to buy something for its looks. If that's so, than the entire art industry shouldn't exist.

    By the way, I'm aware of all the other advantages of macs but this thread is purely focused on design.
  11. felt. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 13, 2008
    still though, I did find it interesting that when people in sales/advertising did some studies and found that the exact same item, one priced high, and one priced low, people were more often drawn to and purchased the higher priced item because they believed that its value was somehow greater then the exact same item priced lower. just sayin :p
  12. drjsway thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2009
    It's not about vanity or fitting in, just the opposite. It's about creativity, which is, IMO, the rarest quality a person can have.

    Most PC companies just cobble together a bunch of components and stick them in a case. There's no creativity there at all and hardly a thought out design.

    Fitting in would be buying something for its name. I've never bought a single piece of clothing with a logo on it.
  13. Nein01 macrumors 6502


    Dec 1, 2009
    wow, where to begin?.. first of all, I'm in my 7th year of art school so i feel i'm pretty competent when it comes to the subject of art. i actually wouldn't have even replied to your original post had you not begun comparing artists and paintings to companies and consumer goods. big mistake.

    to quote my favorite professor currently teaching image theory (a post colonial caribbean studies phd): "form is half of content". aesthetics are always secondary to content, to the message. consumer goods have no message, thus you can't compare paintings to clothes and computers.

    sell-out artist of course will only make work for money. their art is empty, meaningless, forgettable. technique and formal elements are important sure, but people who only look for or aspire to create/mimic visual beauty and plain copies of reality are the shallow ones.

    there is no "premium" in a $500 shirt or those other things, design or otherwise. it is simply how people are trained in a capitalist society to display their self-worth, their significance. it's still just a f***ing shirt. you get no more value out of that shirt than the "worth" you project onto it. a lot of people in the world, especially in america, need to get a fresh perspective on their relation to the world and stop being so self obsessed.

    art is social commentary. true art has no monetary value; it's made to progress the human race, to point out problems and offer solutions. it isn't an "industry".
  14. iCheddar macrumors 6502a


    Apr 30, 2007
    South Dakota
    I think that one of the definite reasons why people turn to Macs is the appreciation of aesthetics. But...there is also a balance between the aesthetic premium and reality. I definitely appreciate good aesthetics in a product, but there are only certain products I'll pay the premium for.

    Apple keyboard: check!
    Magic mouse: check!
    Macbook Pro: check!

    Apple's desktop line: Won't go near it!

    That being said...when I built my Hackintosh desktop, I tried to get well designed products. A very clean Antec P180 Case, Swan M10s, Asus PW201 display. Those products are not as well designed as Apple's, but better than most of the spaceship designs of most consumer PC products.

    I also think the appreciation of aesthetics can carry over to other products as well. When I used to sell TVs, I had an easier time selling Samsungs than Sonys, mostly because the Samsung's design was prettier.
  15. iCheddar macrumors 6502a


    Apr 30, 2007
    South Dakota
    A layman discussing art with an artist can always turn into a heated battle, but if I can fan the flames only slightly, I'll try to.

    Though its generally said that art can serve no purpose other than to exist, I still feel as if certain items in our society can be art.

    The utter simplicity and uniformity of the magic mouse screams art to me. Sure it isn't very ergonomic, but it is a thing of beauty to look at. Or, an Alfa Romeo...not the best cars in the world, but an absolute pleasure to look at.

    I will say that a pair of jeans is probably not art, but I think that the generalization that no product can be art is a bit harsh.
  16. drjsway thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2009
    So fashion designers are not artists and neither is Jonathan Ive? Ive's designs have a message and this is DEFINITELY true of fashion designers. Go look at the designs of Yohji Yamamoto and tell me it's not art.

    So artists that make money are sell-outs.

    Isn't that true with all art? I get no more value out of a Picasso painting than the worth I project onto it.

    I don't buy clothes to display my self-worth. As I said, I never buy a piece of clothing with a logo. I buy clothes with designs I think are interesting and reflect my personality. I bought a $700 hand-stitched shirt with beautiful patterns by another Japanese designer (forgot his name but he's not big) that to this day, is my favorite piece of art that I've bought.

    So the clothes you choose to wear has no social commentary nor the computer you choose to use?

    By the way, art cannot be taught and most art schools are a waste of money.

    EDIT: The New York Museum of Modern Art holds a G4 Cube as part of its collection so apparently they think Apple computers can be art.
  17. kyzen macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2010
    Yes. Especially if it got great mileage.
  18. Patriks7 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2008
    I completely agree with you. One of the main reasons I have a Mac is OS X and the build quality (all Windows laptops I've had were plastic and broke really fast), but aesthetics are big part of the decision as well (not the main one though, that's OS X). It's just like with cars. You can get a cheap Skoda to get you from location A to B, but you can pay more for a Mercedes S-class and do it with a lot more comfort in a much better looking car.

    Brain-dead? Really? Just because you can't afford it and other can, doesn't mean they are brain-dead. And actually, artists are more likely to buy $200 jeans or $500 shirts, because it's usually those that have that "artistic extra" feel to it, because they are made by the "better" fashion designers. But, judging from the fact that you live in America, I don't really expect you to understand anything about fashion.
  19. vincebio macrumors 6502a


    Jun 27, 2005
  20. splitpea macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2009
    Among the starlings
    No, not visual design -- at least not for a computer, for me. But interface design and usability do. System design and architecture (which is not a visual thing but about how the pieces of the OS work together) matters a hell of a lot.

    I never have. I can find good quality, flattering clothing that makes me look professional and will last me years for a heck of a lot less than that, and have no interest in spending money just to be "stylish" in something that's going to be outdated in 3 months.

    I'm currently living with an ugly couch because it was free and I can't afford anything else right now. But I also think it's a different matter. How much time do you spend looking at the outside of your computer?

    Ugly inside or outside? Inside only if I had the time and money to fix it up and make it appealing. Outside I couldn't care less. How much time do you spend looking at the outside of your house?

    Absolutely. What would it matter what my car looks like if it gets me places efficiently? I'd be much more concerned about how well the engine ran, its fuel efficiency, how often it needed servicing, how ergonomic the dashboard layout was... etc. Again, how much time do you spend admiring the outside of your car, and if it's a lot, don't you have anything better to do with your time?

    Are you sure people buy them because they're attractive? Not because they're more usable, lower maintenance, hold their value better, and come with software that makes it really easy to deal with your photos and home videos?

    The aesthetics don't hurt (all things including price and build quality and OS being equal, who would choose the uglier computer over the pretty one?) but I doubt they're the driving factor behind most purchases, or the reason people are willing to spend more than they would on a PC (and keep in mind that except at the end of a product cycle they tend to be very competitively priced to a truly similar-specced PC).
  21. shthap3ns macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2010
    You guys are over-complicating this matter. You see, an Apple design is like a hot girl. You got the money, you get the goodies. Some people have the money. Most people don't.
  22. Patriks7 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2008
    It's not just about what you care and think about, but it's the people around you. It's called psychology, you might want to look into it.
  23. iLMAO macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2010
    I STRONGLY agree with the topic. Aesthetics are of utmost importance and no one in the industry knows and understands that better than Apple. They think up to the last detail, till the very corners and edges.

    There is a harmonious consistency and symmetry in the whole family of products and Apple strives to maintain and uplift it's standards. MOST of all other companies are getting their products assembled in China but I know none that give elegance top priority and succeed. This costs money and hence the premium price.

    For instance, have you seen the unibody battery making video of Apple's assemble factory in China ? Have a look at the machines there that are making the batteries in house, and think about the sophistication, cost and time involved into engineering them. They cost immense money to lease or own and use (however it is). Quality and standard is what you pay for when you buy a Mac. I'm surprised that some people don't have regards for these.
  24. MaxZ. macrumors newbie

    Jan 29, 2010
    if you look at the materials used and all together macs are not more expencive then the rest. actualy you dont get an cheap aluminium laptop with led backlit for 1150 from lets say dell.
    comparing to the other laptops i was looking into the macs have the best overall vlue imo and thats not only the design its also durability and quality.
  25. iLMAO macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2010

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