Upside-Down Mugs, Designer Henry Franks and Dyslexia



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Designer Henry Franks has dyslexia, and he has the products to prove it. In 2013 he won the prestigious ‘New Designer of the Year’ Award in London. His upside-down Mugslexia mugs illustrate a symptom of dyslexia known as inversion – some letters can seem to invert when reading.

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It’s confusing. Just so you don’t pour boiling water on the bases, remember to stick the tea bag in first! (Or to mistakenly balance it on top).

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They offer more security than traditional mugs – they’re wider at the base and more stable. The handle is lower down which creates better balance when they’re picked up. Hot drinks stay hotter for longer, as the base is wider than the brim. Why did anyone ever do it any differently?

 

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Franks explains: “Dyslexic Objects is a range of household products I designed in response to my own dyslexic condition. The aim was to improve a selection of everyday objects through the condition of dyslexia, encouraging people to re-engage with seemingly inanimate objects. Each product possesses a different characteristic of the condition.”

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The Poor Memory Pen Pots or pencil holders are designed to contain just two (or a few skinny) pens or pencils. Thus the brain is less cluttered – and so is the desk. There’s no likelihood that the pencil holders will be filled with unused pens that have run out, or pencils that need to be sharpened.

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Franks’  Confused Clothes Hangers have two hooks.

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Their shape reflects the  ‘flipping’ aspect of dyslexia, when letters can appear the wrong way round.  It also makes them a cinch to use! Gone is the 50/50 question if you’re stretching to hang stuff, or the rail is covered in clothes – is the hook the right way round?

 

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Like this Bog Standard oak toilet seat with attached loo roll – the designer’s Humour in Objects product range exhibits one or more of three characteristics:

1. Being in an unusual place.
2. Behaving in an unusual way.
3. Being the wrong size.

 

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Franks says the toilet roll is positioned so your hands only touch clean tissue, and not the toilet lid, when raising it. Clearly this has been made with men in mind!  Hopefully it will also remind them to close the lid after use.

 

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Franks was presumably on another roll when he designed Ideas by the Metre. This ash table has handles on each side which wind a 45 metre roll of paper along the top of the desk. He believes being able to draw on a continuous sheet of paper can mentally evolve ideas.

 

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‘I am fascinated by the analysis of human interaction with everyday objects and exploring how my product ideas, designed with a humorous approach, can alter people’s perspective and relationship with objects.’- Henry Franks.

 

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Even his logo uses inverted lettering.

 

 

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