Form vs. Function

Discuss Spyderco's products and history.

Form vs. Function?

I value function over aesthetics.
55
56%
I value aesthetics over function.
1
1%
I value function and aesthetics equally.
42
43%
 
Total votes: 98

Spydergirl88
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Re: Form vs. Function

Postby Spydergirl88 » Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:44 am

There are plenty of great looking knives out there but for me spyderco has the best features. FFG, spydie hole, and the wire clip and even the 3 hole clip are head and shoulders over other knife brands. I have tried to love other brands based on looks but at the end of the day they don't have the features of spyderco knives.

JuPaul
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Re: Form vs. Function

Postby JuPaul » Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:45 am

Spydergirl88 wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:44 am
There are plenty of great looking knives out there but for me spyderco has the best features. FFG, spydie hole, and the wire clip and even the 3 hole clip are head and shoulders over other knife brands. I have tried to love other brands based on looks but at the end of the day they don't have the features of spyderco knives.
I really agree. Other big companies make some knives that are very beautiful, and I'm often tempted by them, but then I remember that every time I use a thumb stud I just wish it was a spydie hole.
- Julia

"Be excellent to each other." - Bill S. Preston, Esq.

ladybug93
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Re: Form vs. Function

Postby ladybug93 » Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:02 am

JuPaul wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:45 am
Spydergirl88 wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:44 am
There are plenty of great looking knives out there but for me spyderco has the best features. FFG, spydie hole, and the wire clip and even the 3 hole clip are head and shoulders over other knife brands. I have tried to love other brands based on looks but at the end of the day they don't have the features of spyderco knives.
I really agree. Other big companies make some knives that are very beautiful, and I'm often tempted by them, but then I remember that every time I use a thumb stud I just wish it was a spydie hole.
100%. i recently bought a great knife from another brand based on looks. i really like it overall, but i’m having to train myself to get over the very dissatisfying feeling of an assisted flipper with a liner lock. it’s like going back to hot pockets as an adult.

JuPaul
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Re: Form vs. Function

Postby JuPaul » Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:29 am

ladybug93 wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:02 am
JuPaul wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:45 am
Spydergirl88 wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:44 am
There are plenty of great looking knives out there but for me spyderco has the best features. FFG, spydie hole, and the wire clip and even the 3 hole clip are head and shoulders over other knife brands. I have tried to love other brands based on looks but at the end of the day they don't have the features of spyderco knives.
I really agree. Other big companies make some knives that are very beautiful, and I'm often tempted by them, but then I remember that every time I use a thumb stud I just wish it was a spydie hole.
100%. i recently bought a great knife from another brand based on looks. i really like it overall, but i’m having to train myself to get over the very dissatisfying feeling of an assisted flipper with a liner lock. it’s like going back to hot pockets as an adult.
Ha! Yes! I recently pulled out an old assisted open, liner lock flipper I carried years ago. After playing with for a minute, I was like "what did I ever see in this thing??"
- Julia

"Be excellent to each other." - Bill S. Preston, Esq.

Sumdumguy
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Re: Form vs. Function

Postby Sumdumguy » Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:28 pm

I have thought about it and I'd say I'm 90/10, function vs form.

I can overlook most visual things. But, if there is another negative, it helps tip it over the edge.

One of my peeves that is partially form, is the exposed base of the blade on the Shaman when it's closed.

It sticks so far out into left field. Ugh.

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sal
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Re: Form vs. Function

Postby sal » Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:19 pm

Hi Guy,

That's because you may have a preconceived notion of "how it should look". I struggled with that for a while and eventually broke though that envelope. Now it doesn't bother me because it makes for a better, more functional tool in my opinion. The design and function required a wider blade with no hump. Function ruled. I know another feature that came into question that some disliked was the guard hitting the finger when closing, but that too was a easy adjustment.

I have a Shaman version with no finger choil on which I'm working. I also have a smaller version of the Rock jumper on which I am working.

sal

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Re: Form vs. Function

Postby Sumdumguy » Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:40 pm

That's funny, I've never been bothered by the guard coming into the cutout.

As for the Shaman, I'm definitely excited to hear about one without a choil. I don't mind choils, but after the Caribbean, I have lost the "need" for choils on larger knives.

The Rockjumper has become my most highly anticipated knife. A Pebblehopper sounds neat, I love small quirky ones. My Micro Dyad is getting a lot of pocket time lately.

skeeg11
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Re: Form vs. Function

Postby skeeg11 » Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:58 pm

A preconceived notion of how a knife should look like is the bain of many a would be knifemaker. There is no denying that the expression of form is an art form for many bladesmiths. Still, for most of us who view knives as essential tools, form should follow function first and foremost ala Sal's "designing in the dark" principle. Once that is satisfied, a gussied up version conjures up a sense of pride in that tool as man jewelry. A completely normal response and a good thing IMHO. Still for the average guy in the real world, the adage of "Form Follows Function" reigns supreme when it comes to tools.

There was a thread called "Form Follows Function" in case anyone is interested enough to look it up. I do wish there were more discussion of functional design on this forum and why certain decisions were made.

foofie
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Re: Form vs. Function

Postby foofie » Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:22 pm

With a background in design, I wholeheartedly believe that "form follows function." I also think that we are incredibly lucky to not have to choose - we have stellar knife designers/makers here at Spyderco that can provide both. Form over function has its place - but not something I prefer to carry since I often appreciate the design as much as the other characteristics of a knife.

One other way to think about it- I love my Watu. Without any cultural or historic connection to the shape - I will say I found it a little odd-looking at first. Just like the Chokwe. But after having it in hand - I am blown away by how the form is a manifestation of the function. The form enables the function. Would it cause me to drool if I had first seen it in a shop window... probably not. But I love the form now. And I appreciate how it was refined over generations, and then over years once brought into the Spyderco fold.

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Evil D
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Re: Form vs. Function

Postby Evil D » Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:44 am

sal wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:19 pm


I have a Shaman version with no finger choil on which I'm working.
sal

Image




Really curious about the handle shape of this one. Is it staying full figured like the standard Shaman? You know I like them full figured gals ;)

This sounds like it has the potential to dethrone my Caribbean. If I could change just one thing about the Caribbean it would be to eliminate the thumb ramp completely. You can blame the Yojimbo 2 for my loss of interest in thumb ramps/humps. If this no choil Shaman ends up with a handle shape similar to the Caribbean with the edge as close, and the same rounded handle...well, I think you already know. Too soon to ask for a LC200N version? :D
SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
~David

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thewoodpecker
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Re: Form vs. Function

Postby thewoodpecker » Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:52 am

Would love to see a Shaman platform with something like a Sheepsfoot or Wharncliffe blade...choil or no choil. :D
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Surfingringo
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Re: Form vs. Function

Postby Surfingringo » Wed Jun 10, 2020 2:35 pm

Evil D wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 6:10 am
I feel like this topic has a kind of peer pressure involved....because someone out there is buying those wild damascus/jewel encrusted knives and they never use them, so surely someone out there does value form/aesthetics over function at least some of the time. I've seen some customs that are pretty impressive from a build quality and material perspective that would probably be horrible to use (no sense in calling out any brand/maker here, I'm sure we've all seen them). Those knives obviously have a market or nobody would make them. As an artist myself, I can appreciate almost anything that's designed to just be admired, so I'm not exactly bashing those who buy and enjoy knives like this, but at the same time I feel like people are almost embarrassed to admit that they like and buy those knives.
I would agree. The question is kind of difficult to answer honestly even to myself. There is a lot going on within the question and the deeper you dig, the more complicated it becomes to answer.

The simplest answer to the most superficial view of the question is “I want both, of course”. “Why would I choose one over the other when there are so many knives out there that tick both boxes for me?” And that would be a straight answer. I think it’s rarely that simple though, whether you are choosing a design from a catalog or trying to create one in the shop behind your house. There are always subtleties that will affect the decision. “This one looks way cooler” “I’d probably use this one more” “Will I give up a tiny bit of functionality for a design I vastly prefer aesthetically?” “Will I put up with this weird looking design feature for a knife that looks like it will have much better functionality?”

The most interesting part of the discussion to me is to entertain WHY I find certain designs beautiful. What is it that defines beauty for me? Some people will look at a knife and see beauty in it’s function. Some will look and just see beauty in its pure artistry. Most folks prefer a knife to have a bit of both but the ratios vary greatly with each individual.

I can tell you this. Anyone who has ever created or designed a knife with the intention of trying to sell it to other people has considered these questions, and the temptation to sacrifice function (to one degree or another) for what might sell better is real. Everyone maker has their place but the world needs companies like Spyderco who aren’t afraid to get a little weird sometimes in the quest to build a better mousetrap. (you know, like drilling a crazy hole in the blade)

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Evil D
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Re: Form vs. Function

Postby Evil D » Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:20 pm

Surfingringo wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 2:35 pm


The most interesting part of the discussion to me is to entertain WHY I find certain designs beautiful. What is it that defines beauty for me? Some people will look at a knife and see beauty in it’s function. Some will look and just see beauty in its pure artistry. Most folks prefer a knife to have a bit of both but the ratios vary greatly with each individual.

I can tell you this. Anyone who has ever created or designed a knife with the intention of trying to sell it to other people has considered these questions, and the temptation to sacrifice function (to one degree or another) for what might sell better is real.



I think we all tell ourselves we NEED a new knife for a particular use or that we value function over buying something just because we like it, because it's easier to justify the cost when a $200 knife has a purpose. I'm sure deep down inside we all know we have too many knives and really don't need more but here we are. I can tell ya this much though, I don't own one single knife that I wouldn't change something about, so even my most favorite models have something that is either form or function related (or both) that I'd tweak if I could. I haven't found my perfect pocket knife yet.


I've designed quite a few knives, never submitted any of them. I might someday. I get what you're saying though and I'm sure you went through the struggle with the knives you've designed. This is a big reason I never even considered pursuing art as a full time job, because it's just too personal for me and having others critique my work can become equally personal. The knives I've designed are designed for ME and based on some of the conversations and threads I've been a part of here I'm not so sure there are enough people who like what I like to make them a reality.
SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
~David

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JRinFL
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Re: Form vs. Function

Postby JRinFL » Thu Jun 11, 2020 8:11 am

I voted "I value function over aesthetics." but it is not an either/or for me. More of a scale where more weight is given to function than to aesthetics, but aesthetics is nowhere near zero.
Used to be JR in CT with a much earlier join date. :rolleyes: :spyder: Native in 440v was my gateway Spyderco! :spyder: Wharnie for the whin! Friends call me Jim. As do my foes.

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FullFlatMind
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Re: Form vs. Function

Postby FullFlatMind » Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:56 am

I voted both but function wins overall. This is a great thing for me with most Spyderco knives - I get both. Not everyone is into the look but I love the appearance of the Spydie hole. The PM2 has sexy curves that also work as great ergos and the blade shape works for just about everything I need. Kapara - same. Then there is the Pacific Salt which is more function than form and I love that knife too. The PC is my most used knife and I really dig the yellow.


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