While designers and engineers may associate developing products with blood sweat and tears, Oki Sato, founder of acclaimed Japanese design firm Nendo, found a way to celebrate the design process in the form of a simple and sweet children’s book—with a cup as its main character.
Not Just a Cup tells the story of a lonely coffee mug who notices that the spoon used to stir its coffee contents is missing. In order to solve the problem, the story evolves into the cup morphing into a variety of different forms as it seeks out a solution—not unlike the process of developing multiple prototype iterations in a design studio.
“The plot of the book showcases the essence of design and emphasizes the notion that design is not only about creating beautiful shapes, but about recognizing the little inconveniences in our everyday lives, and finding new ways to solve them,” explains Sato. “The overall message of the book is that even the smallest and seemingly boring things in our daily routine can enrich our lives and excite us when given a bit more attention.”
Featuring simple illustrations and few words, the book relies more on design sketches—both hand-drawn and computer-generated—than anything else. By the end of the book, it’s clear that the children’s book approach to presenting the design process could be applied to just about any product design—while serving as a great reminder that working hard through the iterative design process can also be fun.
While no information is available at this time for purchasing, you can find out more about the book over at Nendo.