The focus on the definition of product appearance in both the industrial design profession and in design education renders product aesthetics hollow and superficial. This preoccupation prevents industrial design from evolving into an authentic, substantive discipline that effectively addresses important issues of our time. For example, one of our most pressing contemporary concerns that is not being effectively addressed by product design and manufacturing is sustainability. Others, not unrelated to sustainability, include notions of meaning, identity and culture associated with the design and production of our material objects. The dominance of superficial, fashion-oriented, essentially hollow aesthetic definitions suggests a barrenness of thinking, a relinquishment of creativity, and a replacement of originality by bland, market-led 'safe' solutions.