Design is Deliberate
The appearance of every item humans have made serves a purpose; fire-resistant bank bags, for example, look sturdy, and that is because they are. These bags are made to withstand one of the most powerful and destructive elements in the world: fire.
Design an item or object with the end in mind. What do you want it to do? That is a reasonable and pragmatic guiding principle.
With this in mind (and speaking of bank bags), here is an important question: how should a bank bag look like if the purpose is to avoid being noticed by muggers, thieves, and criminals?
There are many ways to go about it, but we will focus on two specific lines of thinking worth exploring here.
Out of character, or out of sight?
Functional AND Fashionable
That a bank bag is designed to be chic, stylish, fashionable, and swimming in color is out of character. We are used to seeing one-color bank bags that are plain-looking it seems an absurd idea to design bank bags with aesthetics in mind.
But is it really so bad if we re-design the bank bag?
Here is the upside: with fashion sensibilities becoming a key consideration in the design of the bag, it will start to look less like a bank bag and more like an everyday bag ordinary individuals typically carry with them, even if in truth it could be a large locking bank bags or a fire resistant cash bags. For once, someone who needs to carry a bank bag will not be self-conscious. The bank bag will look great and those who don’t know better will never guess it is a bank bag full of cash.
Fashion is a distraction, and in this particular case, it serves a good purpose: safety. In the book Speak Out!: Debate and Public Speaking in the Middle Grades, authors Kate Shuster and John Mean wrote:
Uniforms are not as distracting as the latest fashion and will help students focus on their class work, not their clothes.
This pertains to how casual clothing – a byproduct of fashion – has the ability to distract. The same way the students are distracted by the appearance of their classmates, criminals being distracted by the appearance of the bag (that’s not a bank bag, it doesn’t look like one) could help people carrying bank bags to feel more at ease and not stand out like a sore thumb.
A New Target
The downside: if it looks great, it will attract attention, and if it attracts attention, there is a chance other people might take interest in it and snatch it.
Lance Hosey, who wrote an opinion published by the New York Times, couldn’t have put it more elegantly:
Brain scan studies reveal that the sight of an attractive product can trigger the part of the motor cerebellum that governs hand movement. Instinctively, we reach out for attractive things.
It is one thing to convince criminals that what they are looking at is not a bank bag, but once they are convinced they want to steal the bag just because it looks good and looks expensive, then the conversation regarding re-designing bank bags is back to square one.
This is when being inconspicuous becomes an appealing course of action.
Plain Gives You Protection
I am not sure if there is a conscious effort to make bank bags look plain and drab, and why. Maybe it is a matter of expectation: make a bag that is useful, period. If it is to fall under the radar and avoid attracting attention, that appears to be reasonable. It does not have to look good because it does not matter. It doesn’t have to be appealing to the bank clients because it is not important – they will still carry their money out of the bank using the bank bag, or their own.
After all, a bank bag is not a social creature – you don’t bring it with you when you meet your friends or when you have a leisurely walk in the park or when you go to the mall. It’s one and only function is to make sure the money is protected and easily transported from point A to point B. But there is only so much a bank bag can do to shield the money from public eyes and to protect it from natural and criminal elements once it is out in the open in the midst of a sea of people.
Unless you are a very capable individual invulnerable to mugging and assault, then whether the bank bag is sturdy or otherwise is unimportant. If you’ve seen Jason Bourne and his red bank bag in The Bourne Identity, you know what I’m talking about – but I digress.
So yes, a case can be made regarding going the opposite direction considering the pitfalls of making a bank bag very fashionable. To avoid muggers and criminals, you should be inconspicuous – you and the bag. Blend in with the crowd. Avoid attention, avoid detection.
Russian spycraft, according to book authors Robert Wallace, H. Keith Melton, and Henry R. Schlesinger (Spycraft – The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs, from Communism to Al-Qaeda) saw the potential of being surrounded by things common and ordinary and made full use of it:
The Russian clothing offered a fair degree of camouflage by blending in among the other drably dressed Soviet citizenry. Soviet clothing, in 1981, had little of the style found in Western fashions.
In the end, it is about personal preferences. What do you want to carry with you, a fashionable bank bag or a plain one? Both approaches to feeling secure going to or leaving the bank with cash in your person have their own pros and cons.
There are very chic, fashionable bank bags in the market today and there is a lot to choose from, but if you want to use plain bank bags, you can easily find these too!