The World’s Most Overrated Product Design

The people have spoken! Here are your picks–and ours–for the world’s most overhyped product designs.

Coffee makers, headphones, and various “smart” things. Are these really some of the best products in history? With your help, we’ve selected eight candidates for our forthcoming bracket on the world’s most overhyped product designs–a list you will find vindicating, infuriating, or (as in my case) a little bit of both! But that’s the fun of bracketology.


Check back for picks in digital design, graphic design, and architecture later this week, before voting in our bracket to name the single most overrated design in all the land.

Beats By Dre Headphones
These unabashedly bulky headphones, designed by Ammunition, became the earbuds of the modern era. Apple bought Beats for $3 billion. Related story: Beats By Dre Isn’t Great Design, Just Great Marketing

Chemex Coffee Maker
Developed by Peter Schlumbohm in 1941, the Chemex is an elegant glass vase for pour-over coffee. The coffee maker is part of MoMA’s permanent collection.


Eames Lounge Chair
Designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1945, this mid-century furniture icon features supple leather cushions affixed to a curvy walnut veneer. Today, it’s as ubiquitous in shrinks’ offices as it is in chic homes.

The iPhone debuted in 2007. Since then, its glass screen and touch-screen interface has driven hundreds of millions of unit sales, while inspiring a raft of competing devices.

Keurig Coffee Maker
The Keurig is a pod-based coffee maker that fills one cup of joe at a time. Related story: You’ve All Been Had, Keurig Coffee Is The Devil


A vision of the smart home by the the father of the iPod Tony Fadell, the Nest is a thermostat that’s designed to learn your temperature habits and save you money.

Smart Jewelry
From bracelets that measure sun exposure to rings that buzz you when someone calls, a new field of software-driven jewelry is on the horizon–and our bodies. Related story: Please Stop Making Stupid Smart Jewelry

ThinkPad laptop
In a technological world where everything changes, this landmark laptop, designed by Richard Sapper, has gone relatively unaltered since it was first released in 1990. Related story: The ThinkPad Is A Lasting, But Overrated, Design


About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach