WHEN FORM and function are wrapped in usability and
seduction, you get a well-designed product. I can think of one: the Ray-Ban.
In 1937, the American medical equipment manufacturer Bausch + Lomb developed
optical glasses for the US Army Air Corps to address vision and glare concerns
suffered by their pilots. The eyeglasses blocked 85% of glare and high
altitude light. Eventually, Bausch + Lomb created similar glasses for the
general public, introducing what eventually became the Aviator model of metal
sunglasses and giving birth to the Ray-Ban brand of eyewear. It was an instant
runaway success. It stayed on the runway since then.
Eighty years later, Ray-Ban has become the most iconic brand of eyewear in
history. From its military roots, the product has now evolved into a fashion
must-have. It instantly transforms a user’s style statement, either by adding
an edge to the user's overall look or by channeling a celebrity image, thanks
mainly to its heavily favored use in film (think Reservoir Dogs,
Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Michael Jackson).