Let's be honest, when we see designs for Pokémon, we instantly think the developers are losing their minds. I for one like a lot of the newer Pokémon designs, although I know that's not popular opinion. At the same time, I really like a lot of the Pokémon whom are based off of inanimate objects. Throughout the generations, each set of games seem to have its own special set of Pokémon where the direct motivation behind the design is inanimate objects.
My liking of these designs comes from the fact that I believe it's still very creative to take something people wouldn't expect to be able to fight with, and make it into something that has the ability to breath and fight other Pokémon. That's what we're here to talk about, and if people think this is a recent thing that has somewhat plagued the Pokémon universe, fear not, because inanimate objects have been the motivation behind Pokémon since the first generation games. Of course, I know there are also Pokémon that are based on living objects like fish, and the like, but i'm here to talk strictly about the inanimate objects that Pokémon are based off of. Some are extremely creative, while others...not so much.
Geodude comes first, and as you can see, he was simply influenced by a rock. Yes, a rock. People like to complain about the later generations not being very creative or that the influence for Pokémon design has dwindled, but they seem to forget that the very first generation of Pokémon games had a Pokémon that was literally based on a rock. Granted, it evolves into some powerful Pokémon, but honestly, this is one of the more simple Pokémon designs the games have ever seen. Like come on now, it's a rock. If you don't think that's simple, then I don't know what to tell you.
Another one that falls into the category that Geodude falls under is Exeggcute, who as you can plainly see is influenced by eggs. Look at it, its main design influence is a bunch of eggs. To add insult to injury so to speak, they designed this Pokémon to have a cracked egg. Whether that's a metaphor for something I'm not really sure, but again, Exeggcute falls into the first generation of Pokémon games which automatically makes him a solid argument to prove that the designs of Pokémon have never really been that strong.
Moving on into the second generation of Pokémon games, we actually saw a few little gems that were influenced both by something wonderful, and put to effect even more so. Sunflora is a great example. They could have done anything that revolved around a sunflower, but they took the simple route and literally made the flower into a Pokémon, and you know what? It works really well. And to make matters better, it's pre-evolved form mimics that of a seed with a spout growing out of it, so that's as simple as simple gets. Plus, Sunflora has the added benefit of being so gosh darn adorable.
Skipping forward into generation IV, we actually saw an increase of interesting design choices for Pokémon. I'd even go as far as saying that it had some of the most interesting designs. Combee is a pretty good example of this especially considering he resembles a simple honeycomb. I know what you're thinking, "but, you said the design from a rock was so simple." Well yes, it is. Keep in mind, I also said it's still its own special design based on its simplicity and the designs of it's evolutions. Combee has that added benefit, much like Sunflora, where although it's design is simple, it still manages to be super adorable and pleasing to look at.
This design falls into my "favorites" category. Even if I never used Cofagrigus in my game-plays, I still found its design to be both beautiful, and creative. Rightfully so, it takes the ghost type and has a mummy ability that pulls creatures in and turns them into mummies themselves. Sounds like something out of a horror film, doesn't it? Don't forget, these are just Pokémon. Luckily for Cofagrigus, it's also got a pre-evolved form known as Yamask whom is also creepy. Don't worry about any of these things coming to live and turning you into mummies though, again, they aren't real.
10 Trubbish / Garbodor
You must be looking at this and you're thinking "really, a trash bag?" Yeah. Trubbish and Garbodor fall under the category of Pokémon designs that aren't exactly creative or interesting. Granted, they did take the design and turn it into something, and you have to give them credit for that, but for me, it just seems like a bit of a cop out in terms of dishing out Pokémon designs. Don't get me wrong, Trubbish is pretty cute, but his evolved state of Garbodor is god awful. I can smell the fail from here.
Ice cream! Ice cream! Who wants some ice cream? Well, you certainly won't want to sink your teeth into these ice cream cones considering they are a living and breathing being with feelings and emotions. Don't even go near them you cannibal. Vanillish and its evolved forms are motivated by the simple concept of ice cream, but I still think it's neat. It is just a pure ice type, so be careful when you decide to take on fire Pokémon. They'll melt before your very eyes. That, and it's just a waste of ice cream.
8 Foongus / Amoongus
It seems like there's always got to be a Pokémon that resembles a Pokéball in some way or another. Voltorb did it first, and did it well I may add. Then we move into Generation V and we get Amoonguss. At first, I wasn't entirely sure if it was intentional that this Pokémon was designed with the Pokéball in mind more so because it mimics a mushroom. I imagine they wanted to take both designs and put them together somehow, and y'know, it works out. While Amoonguss has the big Pokéball top, and the two hands that resemble them, it's pre-evolved form Foongus only has the Poke ball top.
7 Klink / Klang / Klinklang
Among my favorite Pokémon designs, Klink, Klang and Kilnklang are certainly up there. I feel like these Pokémon get a bad rap not only for their simple design, but how terrible of a Pokémon they are altogether. I can't vouch for them when it comes to the Pokémon games, because I never used them, but I don't think this design is simple by any means. It seems to take a lot of influence from the Magnemite / Magneton design. Before you say anything, it's not a cheap rip off of those designs, it's more of a different take on an already good design, which works in its favor.
Lampent and Chandelure are two designs that I would personally put in my top 10 for overall Pokémon designs. Even though the design is as simple as replicating a chandelier or a gothic lamp, it's still up to the designers to ensure that the Pokémon design is still unique, and it is just that. The use of flames and the gothic style really compliment the ghost/fire type that they represent. Sure, there's plenty other designs that would surpass this in terms of creativity, but it's still cool to look at nonetheless. Just imagine a Chandelure hanging from your ceiling. Terrifying, right?
While Lampent and Chandelure got the better end of the deal in regards to being designed in a more creative fashion, the first stage of its evolutionary chain wasn't as lucky. Yeah, Litwick is designed by nothing other than a standard candle. Let's be real, and I've mentioned this before, some of the designs are a bit too simple. I understand that the designers behind these little creatures have to hold some of their creativity off until the evolved forms of the simple designs, but...there's a point where it becomes TOO simple, and becomes boring or it lacks creativity.
Of course, when we talk about lack of creativity and boring designs, naturally I lead into yet another design that I feel falls under that category. Above, we've got Shelmet. Much like Litwick, it's got the unfortunate privilege of being the most boring design in its evolutionary chain. When it comes to Escavalier and Accelgor, the designs ooze with creativity and personality, but Shelmet is just a helmet. Not only that, but they couldn't even get creative with the name. You can't just add an "S" to an inanimate object and it's suddenly a Pokémon. That's not how it works.
3 Honedge / Doublade / Aegislash
Let's get back into some of the cooler Pokémon designs. Shown above, we've got Honedge, Doublade and Aegislash, which as their names would signify, are influenced heavily by swords. When this Pokémon was first revealed, people thought it was a stupid design and "The Pokémon Company have lose their mojo" but let's be real, people will say that about anything. This time though, they were wrong. While these Pokémon don't look like much on paper, they are extremely useful in the games, and they create a difficult enemy during the Elite Four, at least that's how it went for me.
Have you ever wondered what barnacle would look like as a Pokémon? Me either! But we got it anyway. Binacle and Barbaracle are both water and rock duel types, more likely to sit well with the nature of barnacle. However, if you know anything about Pokémon types, you'd realize that rock and water don't necessarily go together. So, while not only having a questionable duel type, their designs is based solely on things you'd find in the water. Some would say this lacks creativity, but I would say...well, yeah I'd say the same thing. Not necessarily my favorite Pokémon design.
Finally, we're getting to the Pokémon design that I feel creates the barrier between what could be considered a good Pokémon design, and a bad one. Pumpkaboo takes the cake for being not only one of the cutest designs the Pokémon world has ever seen, but also for its simplicity. It's different in the sense that I don't find its simplicity to lack creativity, in fact, I feel this design oozes with creativity. They could have done anything with a Pumpkin, by just adding a face to it and calling it done, but they made it its own, and it works really well as the type of Pokémon that it is.
If I haven't convinced you enough yet, I'll wrap things up by saying that even though people like to argue that the designs for Pokémon have been declining in recent years, it's been that way since the beginning. All in all, while some designs fair well with fans, some won't. Just remember that they're just Pokémon, and they're created for our enjoyment.