Years ago I was at the Lonestar Restaurant in Pickering while a no doubt expensive consultant was coming through telling the management of a place that did one thing well, fajitas, all the things they needed to change about their layout and decoration and indeed it became evident, menu. After that the franchisee dumped more large sums into ripping up old texmex decor and replacing it with other texmex decor. They redesigned the place to make it look revised, superficially different. And they got rid of the delicious beans and replaced them with muck. They replaced most of the fajita sides with mean prefabricated portions. They replaced their in-house delicious corn chips with the same bagged ones you get in a grocery. And after their great reinvention everything that was unimportant, was samey. Much of what was bringing in customers was worse. After a while the proper beans came back. But it was sadly obvious that the menu changes made the food less desirable and poorer value.

And that is a classic example of “redesigns” today. Some branding or marketing idiot with “new” and “improved” on the brain, they come in and they stir the pot. We get redesigns that are only different, seldom better.

The new Apple laptops run a bit cooler. They are a bit faster, although that will never be apparent to almost every user. And they have longer battery life. They also have massive compatibility problems. Backward compatibility problems seem to be the new gold standard for Apple product “innovation.” And weirdly I have been here before. One argument against Macs in the 90’s was a lack of software support. Somewhere in the middle that was improved upon. But here we have come again full circle.

At least back then I could point out that Macs supported all the professional requirements of graphic designers and were at least the best choice for that. But PCs run Adobe Creative Suite and Opentype fonts are cross platform. So, increasingly I cannot figure out why anyone would buy a Mac when they can be annoyed by Windows, getting bigger drives and better CPUs and GPUs at a fraction of the price with better support and more compatibility; and in a proper computer case with a reasonable selection of I/O ports.

Is it something in the water that companies have been so intent this decade on undermining themselves?

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I am an experienced freelance graphic artist and sometime canoeist. I feel strongly about the quality of professional work and like sitting by a remote lake on a sun-warmed rock.

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