Apple, Puma and Volkswagen

I have long been a passionate advocate for excellence in design. I have written in favor of radical innovation in school designs in other settings, arguing that a well-designed space does more than merely please the eye and the senses (though it certainly does that). There are three companies that get all of the issues right when it comes to industrial design, and they can serve as an example to others...and to each other. Certainly they have attracted my sustained interest and cash, as well as passionate supporters from around the world.

Apple's track record in design is one of success to success ever since the iMac in the late 90s. I am writing this post on an iPad, one of the devices that history will look back to as a definitive gamechanger...perhaps on the order of the invention of the Internet itself. This device is perfect in exactly the same way that the iPod was - not flawless in it's execution, but so clearly reflecting what the future will need that the future grows from the device itself. It is already clear to me that students might use this device as a research tool, a collaboration tool and as a networking tool. Schools should be able to use iPads to streamline administration, manage safety, reduce paper use and encourage collaboration. In the 1-to-1 learning environments that are emerging in schools, an iPad would seem to be the perfect device. And this is to say nothing of how beautiful it is, now organic it is to use, how right it seems in the hand. I don't care that it weighs more than a Kindle or that it is not perfect now. It will improve.

Puma makes the most beautiful, minimalist shoes being made right now. I can not resist them. In an age where big and flashy or technological and inaccessible seem the order of the day, Puma continues to make minimalist classics (albeit sometimes with unusual colors!). Their products are just like Apple's devices, in that they are well designed for what they do, beautiful in their own way and still perfectible.

Both Puma and Apple share a philosophy of design with Volkswagen, which with some notable exceptions has always been cutting edge. I drive a 2007 GTI, which is to me one of industry's most perfect objects. Minimalist styling, clean lines, a highly functional interior which is beautiful to look at and engineered to the same degree of quality that we see in the iPad.

Check these companies out for you think they are the pinnacle of their industries?