You might be interested in this (assuming that you don't already know about it!):
"Visual Reflections on Science Annual Art & Science Exhibition"
I don't buy it (pun, I suppose, intended). It's obvious that eye-catching design often increases sales but design doesn't necessarily improve the quality of the product, just how consumers perceive it.
I remember watching a different TED talk about design where the speaker said "Buy a Mini, it's not the best car, but you'll have so much fun you won't care." He also presented a gold juicer/sculpture which actually couldn't be used as a juicer because the acid in citrus would destroy the finish of the gold. This kind of design gets on my nerves.
Another example would be the Macintosh phenomena where people pay a large percentage for the same raw computing power because Apples have a more elegant design. Now, I appreciate design (I own a mac myself), but i wish it could be blended more with functionality and economics. I like to buy elegant, useful products, not just ones that look pretty.
Design can also really get things wrong...check this out
The irony here being that the phrase is supposed to make you wanna buy a t-shirt XD
Totally, Joe! Isn't it meta? :D Well, not really.
I would actually love to own that shirt, though I absolutely disagree with the sentiment - I just love conversation starters.
The thing is, design isn't always honest - indeed I have designed or implemented designed architectural fallacies on a number of occasions. At the same time, advertising is quite often absolutely honest.