The perfect fit, great design Jason 15 Nov 2005

50 comments Latest by Boris

I just got a new desk at home and was very pleased to see someone thought about what happens on and around a desk. Most notably, people keep papers. The side of this desk has an opening/ledge to keep loose paper (or whatever else you want, I suppose). And the ledge is exactly 8.5” wide — exactly the size of a standard piece of paper. So when you stack your papers on the ledge, and against the drawer to the left, it’s a perfect fit. Nothing hangs off the edge or the front. These things make me smile.

50 comments (comments are closed)

Benjy 15 Nov 05

Are you going to share where you got this new desk from? Do they have other similarly well thought out furniture?

Rabbit 15 Nov 05

OMG! $1,800?! I hope that’s not the desk Jason’s referring to.

For that price I could buy a full-size Tempurpedic bed with frame and two pillows!

Yeah the desk looks cool, but not $1,800 cool. Eff that noise.

Miguel 15 Nov 05

“exactly the size of a standard piece of paper”. Of a standard US piece of paper, that is.

Miguel 15 Nov 05

“exactly the size of a standard piece of paper”. Of a standard *US* piece of paper, that is.

Brad 15 Nov 05

@Rabbit: True. But at the same time I, myself, spend much more time at my desk (and in an office chair) than in my bed - every single day. Might as well be comfortable at your workstation. :)

Mark 15 Nov 05

I’m just surprised to see that even with Basecamp, Backpack, Writeboard and Ta-da Lists, you’re still relying on faxes.

—-

Sorry, couldn’t resist…It does look like a handy desk, however.

Benedict 15 Nov 05

Mark: it’s called “backwards compatibility”. ;)

Rob Sanheim 15 Nov 05

“Design Within Reach” must be the most ironic brand name ever. Their products are “in reach” if you want to spend $400 on a lamp.

JF 15 Nov 05

This is exactly why I didn’t link to the desk — I didn’t want this thread to turn into a rant on pricing, etc. Can we focus for a second on something other than price? Maybe utility?

I’m just surprised to see that even with Basecamp, Backpack, Writeboard and Ta-da Lists, you’re still relying on faxes.

If I had my way I’d never fax again, but the rest of the world still loves the fax. It does serve certain situations well though.

chris 15 Nov 05

Looks great, until you have something like an envelope, fedex mailer or file folder in that stack and then you’re back to stuff hanging over just slightly and getting snagged on everything.

Cleverness isn’t always a virtue.

Mark 15 Nov 05

From your photo, it looks like the opening is tall enough to fit an entire ream of paper as well - does it?

One of the most useful desks I’ve seen is a drafting table styled desk which has an electric motor attached to raise it. So on those long nights of being “creative” (whatever that means ;) ) one can either stand or sit and still get work done.

Jeff Hartman 15 Nov 05

While it may hold some paper, it seems to be lacking a power cord tray. ;)

Chad 15 Nov 05

Chris, I think the envelopes and mailers might fit on top of the desk.

It looks like a great feature. I’m not a huge fan of shelving beneath the desk, but this looks nice and out of the way.

Show us more pictures!

Ian 15 Nov 05

What is a ‘fax’?

frustrated reader 15 Nov 05

For someone who spends so much time thinking/talking about design, useablility and the “details” why havent you added a search function to this site?

Am I the only one who finds this completely bizarre?

Mark L 15 Nov 05

I can’t believe nobody’s picked up on it yet… it’s a password holder, simply write all your passwords on a piece of paper and slide them away out of sight!

christopher baus 15 Nov 05

I second that. I have an Ikea Gallant. It is very good bang for the buck.

Larry Wright 15 Nov 05

Rob: “In reach” is pretty relative.

And yes, this (assuming it is, in fact, the DWR desk) is more expensive than whatever you might buy at Ikea or Best Buy, it’s certainly proportional with what you might pay for “real” office furniture (think Steelcase or HON).

Good design ain’t cheap.

Peter 15 Nov 05

To be honest, I don’t see what is so well designed about that DWR desk (apart from the properly-sized paper shelf). The drawers aren’t even included in the base price. Certainly not worth the premium to me.

Dave Simon 15 Nov 05

Personally, I don’t like to have things put away. If they are the papers I have on the desk, they are there for quick access. I could put them in a file cabinet under my desk just as quickly as in a little shelf.

Now, a desk with built in cord managment… that would be nice.

Eamon 15 Nov 05

Here’s the best desk I’ve seen for reducing clutter:

http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000590067630/

Will 15 Nov 05

I’m so jealous.

Dordonis are absoultely beautiful - and I agree that the proportions are excellent and the thought put into where things “inhabit” the desk is brilliant.

christopher baus 15 Nov 05

BTW, The Design within reach store might be slightly more expensive that average furniture, but it is still inexpensive compared to the high-end of the market.

I don’t understand why developers spend $5k on their development systems and $300 on their workstation.

I’ve found a functional desk, ergo chair, and big monitor to be far more valuable than the latest CPU and hardware.

Darrel 15 Nov 05

Can we focus for a second on something other than price? Maybe utility?

A paper holder. Uh. Wow.

It is a nice desk, though. I’ve always admired it. Though I think Ikea did it just as well at a more appetizing price point:

http://www.ikea.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?topcategoryId=15600&catalogId=10103&storeId=12&productId=40806&langId=-1&parentCats=15600*15870*16129

Good design ain’t cheap.

To me, part of good design is making sure the audience can afford it.

Looking at the DWR desk, it’s an MDF top with laminate wood. No different than what Ikea makes.

Deirdre Saoirse Moen 15 Nov 05

I keep meaning to get to a DWR location, now you’ve given me another reason. As a writer who frequently has msses lying around (not just mine; I’m on a fiction jury this year), it’s nice to know that there’s an uncluttered place to put them.

Which reminds me, I need to double-check some galleys….

Tom 15 Nov 05

Hmm, I agree with Darrel, Jason. You can’t just ignore the price. I see why you want to - I suppose we can suspend reality for a moment…

In which my first thought was that if it is *exactly* 8.5” wide then I’m thinking…any breeze is going to make the top one or two pieces flutter out…then off the stack occassionally. Does that happen? That would be annoying. I would think 9” would be more suitable, especially since you have the buttress on the left side to stack them. I’d want a ledge to for my hand to maybe leaf through the stack - what if I am not using them for faxes :)

Let us know in 30 days how it works… I feel like it’s one of those things that seems cool when you first use it until you find out all the shortcomings - but hey I could be wrong.

I too like seeing pics of other peoples workareas - nice basement blackant (Did that come from Blue Ant perhaps? A Gibson fan perhaps?) :)

Tony 15 Nov 05

Looking at the DWR desk, it’s an MDF top with laminate wood. No different than what Ikea makes.

There is no such thing as “laminate wood.” The desk has a veneer surface, which is thin slices of real wood. Laminate is a synthetic surface that you might more-commonly call Formica.

Similar desks from the big office furniture manufacturers would have much higher resale prices.

Jaime Vásquez 15 Nov 05

It’s facinating seeing how quickly this conversation has drifted away from the original topic at hand. Is not about DWR and their outrageous prices, the need for faxes, nor about a 2 hump camel…

I have a desk similar to this one and I only wish that it had extra room so that the paper corners would not bend. Obviously my working area is not that spacious.

Omar McFarlane 15 Nov 05

Well as long as you’re talking about working environments, I’ve always been curious of what the insides of 37Signals looks like. How about it Jason, care to show us your work crib?

JF 15 Nov 05

Hmm, I agree with Darrel, Jason. You can’t just ignore the price. I see why you want to - I suppose we can suspend reality for a moment…

This post wasn’t about price, who makes the desk, where the desk was purchased, what kind of wood it’s made of.

Let us know in 30 days how it works… I feel like it’s one of those things that seems cool when you first use it until you find out all the shortcomings - but hey I could be wrong.

I’ve had the desk for two months and absolutely love it. It’s solid, incredibly well build, beautifully designed, and looks great. I’d buy another one if I needed it.

Brandon 15 Nov 05

Thanks for posting - it’s a great design. I just got a desk reallyl similar though it’s lacking the nice little shelves (there are droors there instead, and they’re not quite 8 1/2” wide so no paper I’m afraid).

Anyway, good design deserves recognition regardless of price. What’s expensive to one person may not be to another. People value things differently. Not to make this about price but people spend thousands of dollars on bedroom or living room furniture but hesitate to spend that much on office furnture - why? I spend 10 hours a day sitting at a desk and in an office chair - why not get the best?

Back to the design… the desk does look awesome. I wish I hadn’t *just* bought one. I’d seriously consider buying it.

Thanks for the post… some of us appreciate it ;)

Brandon 15 Nov 05

Man, I feel like a third grader - droors? reallyl? I do really know how to spell. Reallyl.

Darrel 15 Nov 05

Blackant…where’d you get your square cubbies? We’ve been looking for something like that.

Darrel is a big old raincloud 15 Nov 05

Why does Darrel have to be such a fucking downer all the time? Does everything he posts have to be so incredibly negative??

Peter 15 Nov 05

Price and materials and manufacturer aside, is there anything other than the shelves that are exactly as wide as a sheet of paper that make the design great?

Lisa 15 Nov 05

It looks cool.

I’d like to see an image shot from across a room with of stack of papers in the space. I bet it really changes the look of the desk.

Adam Winter 15 Nov 05

Also check out this desk:

http://www.poetictech.com/aura/index.html

Cade Roux 15 Nov 05

http://www.anthro.com/

Loved mine (two full-size 3’x6’ shelves) until Katrina took it.

Darrel 15 Nov 05

Thanks, Blackant!

Why does Darrel have to be such a fucking downer all the time?

Gee…sorry my comments on a desk has effected you so much.

Are you a friend of the desk?

andrew 15 Nov 05

Miguel wrote:
> “exactly the size of a standard piece of paper”. Of a standard US piece of paper, that is.

That was my first though too ;-)

But of course Jason’s assertion was entirely fine within his own context, there’s no issue to be had with it.

There would only be an issue if someone was trying to sell me that desk in my country and told me “exactly the size of a standard piece of paper”, in ignorance of the fact that standard for the rest of the world is A4, not US Letter.

A certain dominant office software suite comes to mind here: no matter how many times you tell it to use A4 — and Australian/British spellings for that matter — it manages to revert to US defaults.

But yes, the dimension of the shelf is one of those nice little touches, the same kind that Macs exhibit so often, that make you smile because you realise someone cared enough to think about it.

Grayson 15 Nov 05

A nice desk, and one that I’d buy if I had the spare cash. $1800 is pretty normal for a simple ‘designer’ desk.

If you want to talk about expensive, lets talk about this guy … only around $14,500

Ben 15 Nov 05

Hey Jason,

Maybe you should consider creating a separate personal weblog. You wouldn’t get the same readership that SvN has, but that would be an advantage.

Nearly every single SvN post gets pointlessly picked apart like a slashdot article, and everyone screams about jumping the shark, because we sit here waiting expectantly for holy decrees from the 37s gods. Many of your “Observations” posts have intriguing points, but they aren’t of the magnitude or impact we expect from a god. I think you could leave SvN as the pulpit of the gods and step down to a personal blog ramble like a normal person ought to be able to, about whatever strikes your fancy.

Also people like me wouldn’t feel compelled to post meta-comments in response to every one of your posts. :)

For the record, it looks like a cool desk, and of course the price is nothing out of the ordinary for a legit desk. None of the whiners have any idea of the cost of the cubicle furniture they themselves are currently sitting at.

Full disclosure: I’m of the camp that believes 37s has already jumped at least one shark, but hey, maybe there’s a bigger one off in the distance that they can refrain from jumping for a while.

Swati 16 Nov 05

Very interesting desk. I can just imagine a MAC on it. Though it’d be cool if it had a “hole” or a built in “container” for holding pens and such. I normally don’t like putting them in drawers…too much of a hassle. But pretty cool.

Does the paper every fall off…there is nothing on one side of it :o

mike swimm 16 Nov 05

I tried to not comment on this post but I will put my two cents in since you asked.

I really like rails, thats why I started paying attention to this blog. I have tried your products and they are OK. I don’t really need them. But reading your posts day after day has really turned me off to your company.

Here are a few reasons why:

1. Useability.
Constantly discussed here yet this blog does not have a search box. That is insane. Read anything on usability on the web and search is paramount.

2. Support.
I emailed once asking if there was a reason you excluded a search box and received a bullshit answer to the effect of ” because google already has the best search engine”. When I emailed back I received no reply. That’s fantastic service, really makes me want to actually pay for your product. (sarcasm)

3. Know your audience
You post about the design of items most of your readers would consider very expensive (audis, DWR furniture) and then get pissed when they mention the price.
“I didn’t want this thread to turn into a rant on pricing, etc. Can we focus for a second on something other than price? Maybe utility?” Most americans aren’t spending $1800 on a desk Jason, know your audience. That’s business 101.

4. Less is More
Although you have recently backed off a little bit whether you meant it or not your posts about this really irritated people. Your business and similarly software companies are one of the only places this philosophy works. Those principals simply don’t apply to most companies. You are also making your product for an extremely small subset of the population. If you think America on the whole responds to Less is More you are smoking crack. Ever been to Walmart?

5. The Kottke Post & The Google Analyzer Post
These two show me that you really leap before looking. I also was presented with a blank screen on Safari and rather than immediately “blog” about it I investigated and found the answer within seconds. The Kottke post was just plain stupid.

That being said I have found a lot of interesting things on this site. But you asked, and that was as honest as possible. You might want to think about how people will view your opinions before posting some of this stuff. Especially if you want larger businesses to take your company seriously. I really think you might want to disconnect your blogging from the company.

Mike Swimm 16 Nov 05

Sorry, intended for the “jump the shark” post.

Boris 17 Nov 05

Jason, you must have been pulling your hair out seeing this thread, I am laughing my @#$$% off………. LOL

The paper drawer is a good idea…… period. The rest is a discussion we should end right here….