One of America’s Greatest Industrial Designers Cites the Plastic Trash Can as his Best Work

Anne Quinto / Quartzy 

But of his countless projects, Harrison is proudest of a humble plastic trash bin…

Diagnosed with dyslexia at an early age, he had great empathy for people with various learning or physical disorders. His quest was to create elegant consumer products that didn’t require elaborate instruction manuals. “Because he was dyslexic, he wanted you to be able to just see how they worked,”

Harrison shot down frills that didn’t improve a product’s functionality.”If it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do or look like what it does, then I frown on it,” he once said. “I don’t think a nutcracker needs to look like an elephant.”

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In his 2005 monograph, Harrison left a sobering note for designers seeking for purpose. “Your audience is neither history nor fame but a couple who worked hard to buy their first home on a quiet street and would love just one more hour of sleep in the morning, even on trash days.”