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Method Home: Design for Germaphobes

Mark Busse – 4 Comments

When you know the germs are out to get you, inspired product and packaging design can make feverish hand-washing a joy.

I’ll admit it: I’m a germaphobe.

I squirm when in the presence of germs and even talking about bacteria can cause a spat of feverish hand washing. So, you can imagine my love/hate relationship with soap. I have a hard enough time touching faucets or door handles in public restrooms, so slimy soap dishes and stained, gooey pump dispensers are so…<insert heebie jeebie shiver here>… disgusting.

Enter Method Home to save me from this plight.

I was in love the first moment I saw the bowling-pin shaped soap bottle Method design with the help of Karim Rashid. The bold shape and color made the product stand out in a category plagued by sameness, but it was more fun and easier to use with its bottom dispensing system. Later I discovered their refillable foaming hand wash dispensers with their clear, smooth, subtly curved conical shape. I was inspired and since then they’ve been my constant companions, sitting next to my sinks and home and at work.

I love how Method products push boundaries with provocative designs. Their containers always seemed more like sex toys than consumer goods to me. No other consumer product in recent memory became a common topic of conversations around water coolers and in the kitchen at parties when they first arrived on the scene a number of years ago.

Far more than just lollipop plastic soap dispensers, the whole Method line of products excites me. Their philosophy of creating products and packaging that don’t harm the environment make them all the more appealing to me. And their use of mild, natural scents that don’t make you gag is another example of the thought and care put into the design of their products. Their approach to balancing form and function set them apart—almost like objects d’art with their carefully chosen colors, sexy shapes and smart, recyclable materials. Even the minimal use of copy contributes to the simplicity inherent in each of their designs. Like beautiful glass bottles that I can’t bring to myself to throw away and end up in my kitchen, I find myself refilling my Method dispensers with various candy-colored liquid soap. Why recycle bottles when you never throw them out? Brilliant.

Method’s industrial design team, led by Creative Director Josh Handy, has repeatedly incorporated creative thinking into their product designs and each iteration or extension seems as innovative and intelligent as the last. Method is one of those companies that is making design important again—without making it intrusive or pretentious. By employing good design and focussing on products that not only work, but stand out from the crowd, they’ve managed to infiltrate millions of homes—all without the aid of major advertising campaigns mind you. Why should they bother really? When you’re standing in the soap aisle at the market, their beautifully designed products stand out in sharp contrast to their numerous competitors. They’ve managed to make products that make their own demand and deserve the dominant position they’ve earned in the consumer home goods market.

Method Home’s products won’t cure me of my germaphobia, but in my home, the roles of form and function meld together in seamless beauty as I gleefully squirt the next palm-full of foamy soap and wash those evil germs and bacteria away. Ew.

4 Responses to “Method Home: Design for Germaphobes”

  1. Erika Rathje

    So I’m not the only one with an addiction to attractive, eco-friendly product packaging. In my last place I didn’t have much on my open bathroom shelf, so I displayed Burt’s Bees and Tom’s of Maine packaging even if the cardboard boxes were empty. Neither can claim this kind of innovation even while Burt’s Bees stands out with its vintage illustrations and neat little tins. The shape is not as important to their brand. I don’t use Method, personally, but I like the fact that while “green,” the packaging is changeable and diverse; the market is saturated with the colour (a particular shade really) to the point where it can be meaningless. That you want to keep and reuse the bottle must have been a clever and deliberate decision on their part. It’s sexy to be green… As for germaphobia… well, best of luck!

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  2. Jon Whipple

    Method. Nice bottles. The cleaning thing made my head swell up and I couldn’t see or breathe. And I’ll admit it: I have a HUGE hate-on for Rashid. to wit: “We have addressed the world’s problems.” (http://karimrashid.com/manifesto_fr.html). To which I say: cbc.ca, bbc.uk.com, cnn.com.

    I will grant you: Method ALWAYS catches my eye. Method is smart to green the containers as well as what’s inside them. My reaction to the cleaning product means I won’t touch them. But I always have to do a double take. Now if they change their recipes and convince me to try them again, maybe I would buy.

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