Function and form

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Form and function of Black Flag

You can see the nature of function and form everywhere you look I took it out of this great interview with Henry Rollins with BBC Hard Talk from January 2016. The interesting bit after 6:00 is how Rollins talks about his stage image that evolved from the rudimentary circumstances of being on the road with American punk band Black Flag.

The origin of this function and form derived look of gym shorts and torso look was to cut down on the washing he needed to do in restaurant sinks post-concert. Rollins continues a variant of this form and function approach to his wardrobe, which focuses on limited basics, even now after his sustained success as musician, spoken word artist, poet, comedian, podcaster and actor.

Dieter Rams

Dieter Rams was one of the most important industrial designers of our modern world. His view was around form following function. He is also a big proponent of less and more in terms of product design.

This approach is exemplified by Braun’s product design over the years, from hi-fis to shavers and and kitchen equipment. This look remained timeless with half century designs still being followed today. Rams extended this philosophy to furniture design company Vistoe.


Function and form doesn’t end with stage outfits. While doing my weekly shop I noticed that Whiskas had upped its packaging game. When I was a child Whiskas came in a tin that was indistinguishable from other tins. If the paper wrapper fell off, you wouldn’t know what was in the tin. It was also inconvenient to use and required a can opener. They like other pet food manufacturers moved to a plastic container with a foil lid that was lighter, an important consideration for supply chains. Now they have added a bit of personality to the container design with ears. It cut through the tins, oval plastic trays and aluminium trays usual in cat food packaging. It acts as great brand signage and also helps the human to open foil lid in order to feed their canine overlords.

Whiskas packaging

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