I don’t want to be Marie Kondo on this, but my Mac Studio sparks joy in me every day, and that’s not because it’s the fastest computer I’ve ever owned. It’s also not strictly about the front ports that Apple gave it, or the village of ports that live on the back.
See, I found this mustache sticker in the bottom of a drawer in my house. I don’t know where it came from, only that it was there, and the moment I found it, I immediately knew where to put it: right in the middle of my Mac Studio. I’d thought for a while that the Studio had this goofy face on the front, and slapping a curly mustache on it brought me home. It delights me, and recently I’ve been thinking about why this clunky addition to my computer makes me so happy.
When my partner and I sold our old house to move to another state a few years ago, we wanted to sell it as is. We had painted it pink and inside we had covered some of the walls with murals – a desert scene I had painted in the dining room and a geometric pattern my partner had painstakingly covered the wall of our room, for example. When one of our real estate agent’s colleagues gave us a tour to give us recommendations, he told us to repaint everything with something neutral, like gray or white.
People want to imagine themselves in space, he says, and they’re not always imaginative enough to see past an already colored wall.
He told us that a potential buyer might be otherwise in love with the house, then walk into the bedroom, see the intricate lines on the wall and say “Ohhhh no” and decide not to buy just because of it. People want to imagine themselves in space, he says, and they’re not always imaginative enough to see past an already colored wall. They need a blank canvas.
It has since occurred to me that this same idea is at play, at least for some people (myself included), in the design of Apple products and, by extension, in the design of so many other products. technologies from companies with the same ratings.
So many of Apple’s devices – its laptops, desktops, phones, etc. – are characterized by these expanses of flat nothingness. Their featureless planes are often broken only when they need to be; via a keyboard or a USB-C port, for example. These days, the company doesn’t even print “MacBook” under the screen anymore. It’s easy to call it boring, but I disagree.
I’d say the simplicity gives it a lot more personality than some of the one-note looks sported by, say, pretty much every gaming router, which often overwhelms you with their thing, Whatever.
Some people love this sort of thing – and that’s okay! Me too. But as the saying goes, it takes a lot to create a world, and design, from my layman’s point of view, isn’t always about what’s there, but sometimes about what isn’t. When one person sees a large, flat, non-creative space on the back of a MacBook Air screen, another person can see a canvas that they can fill in to truly reflect who they are, using stickers, a Sharpie or even paint.
Or, you know, a mustache.