Good Design Wears In

Good design gets better with time. Bill Moggridge called this process wearing in, and it’s the reason why I like surrounding myself with nice things.

The physical version of wearing in is often thought of as patina. The scratches, dings, and chips on a vintage Stratocaster tell a story of how the guitar was played, making the instrument feel richer and more human than one in mint condition. Like a weathered motorcycle jacket, many objects also look cooler with a little bit of distress.

Alden Indy boots

I’ve worn these Alden Indy boots on many vacations. As they scrape against sidewalks, the scuffs become a small reminder of the places I’ve visited.

Ceramic bowl with scrapes

This handmade ceramic bowl is more fun to eat out of than my dinnerware from IKEA. As spoons and forks have scraped against the glaze, a mild Cy Twombly effect has appeared.

But nice things can still wear in even if they don’t change physically. Scott Wadsworth at Essential Craftsman shares how his tools improve as they collect a patina of memories and sentimental value.