Happy Holidays From the Fuel Team
We're off this next week (though there may be the odd post now and then, but hey, we've got to take a break sometime). Have a happy new year, and an awesome holiday. And we can only hope that you all got presents as cool as this one
Taking the Joys Out of Toys
Well, Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat. The toy industry, however, is getting lean, and the way that toys came to market, and the kinds of toys that make it to market are being changed this year, and probably forever. Even if you're not into toys, listen up, because "As goes the toy industry, so goes all retail product".
Your Mother Was A Hampster,
And Your Father Smelt Of Elderberries
At least that's what you might say to a product that was a biomimic. We've written about them before, but a couple new developments in materials, and a new resource or two make the topic worth another look (And it doesn't hurt that we're French, and totally excited about "Spamalot" opening in Chicago). Anyway, on to the animals.
Rebels Without The Cause We Think: Part 2
So yesterday, we talked about this This Magazine article, and how the trend of rebellion against a "Mass Society" has lead to overconsumption in an effort to constantly re-define ourselves so as not to be ordinary. We promised that the outlook wasn't hopeless, so lets poke around and see a little more about how this trend effects the market, and also how maybe designers can effect a little change toward something more mellow and sustainable.
Visions Of Bonfires Danced In Their Heads
We know you've been dreaming about awesome Bonfire concepts. It's getting down to the wire, but you can still put the shine on your Bonfire #3: Clip-n-Seal It! concepts. Maybe this cold weather, or present wrapping, or all these in-laws are giving you great ideas (although it's probably best to keep the clip-n-seal + inlaws ideas to yourself). Whatever your thinking, drop us a line and get registered.
Rebels Without The Cause We Think: Part 1
An idea that's been stewing around in our minds for a while was given a voice and a name last week with the publication of the awesome "Rebel Sell" piece that's been making the blogosphere rounds. There are a number of factors -- anti-consumerist sentiment, underground/homemade product advocacy, and increased interest in customized or limited edition products, among others -- which are not only growing in popularity, but do not support, or even undermine other currently popular concepts like environmental and social sustainability. If you're a designer, or if you know a designer, or even if you buy things from time to time, you might want to stay tuned. Here's part one of a two part breakdown of the action.
It's All About The Information Marty
As a culture, we're pretty obsessed with stuff. We love looking at it in magazines and online. We love going out and shopping for it. And we love carrying it around with us and telling other people about it. But stuff costs money, and therefore, we're limited in the amount we can economically afford to have. Data-type stuff doesn't have that limitation. Physically, and economically, you are free to take as many digital photos, record as many sounds, rip/download as many songs as you have harddrive space for. And we are doing it. But what about the future consequences of that growth. Have we become the same kinds of careless overconsumers of information as we have with physical products?
Tech Thursday: The Right Light
Last Tech Thursday, we covered some of the popular platforms for generating 3d rendered prototype images. If you took a look at the images in any of the galleries from Brazil, Lightwave, Maya, or 3ds MAX, you may have said "Hey, I can't get pictures to look that good, no matter what I do". The truth is, recent developments in lighting for rendering have made it easy to get many times more realism out of a render, but only if you know what tools to use. So, this TT, we're making sure the design community knows what's available in 3d lighting.
Hydrogen Without The Hiccups
So. You've accepted it. You recognize that we're having oil trouble, and that we need to put some work into finding alternatives. But where to start? Luckily, you don't need to have a whole hydrogen economy in place before you start introducing hydrogen-friendly products.
Siphoning Gas From Your Bottom Line
What if you could get in on the super-hot ground floor of a booming new retail product. For a small upfront investment, you'll get a full line of items to sell through your store or supermarket kiosk for huge profits. And the best part is, the prices are so low compared to competitors, the product practically moves itself off the shelves. The only problem is, you'd better watch your back for customs workers. This amazing money maker isn't sketchy diet pills, or pirate DVDs. The new pusher's choice is pirate toys, and the market is way bigger than you might think.
Put Out By Patents
If you're a product designer who happens to be selling your products yourself, or if you've ever been asked by a client, you may have had to deal with obtaining a patent. Whether you're in the US, UK, the European Union, or anywhere else, the process for getting legal protection for your intellectual property can be pretty ridiculous.
Feast and Famine
We're actually on vacation today, but we squeezed in this little post before we left. We're right in the thick of the most buying-centered time of year, and that can mean great things for designers -- mostly, it means that our royalties or profits move into the black for the first time all year. But it also throws into contrast the inequities in the world; both positive and negative. Call this our "feast and famine" post. Either way, it's a major design opportunity.
The Speed Of It All
Sorry for the late post today. Those late-night projects can sometimes get a life of their own. But, on the topic of delaying instant communication in this digital age, lets look a little closer at the current youth generation and their communication practices. And for those of you who are worried, Tech Thursday will be back with a vengeance next week.
The Perfect Chord (cord)
With the all too rapid proliferation of electronic what-not cluttering up your tiny studio apartment (What? Not everybody's living like us?!) you may be thinking about some new cord management. And after hearing about that ring plug winning all the acclaim earlier this year, you were probably asking "Hey, there's got to be something more than that...". Well, we think we've found it.
Water products are a market segment that never gets it's real due. Usually it's mighty cold at Christmas, so squirtguns and slip-n-slides aren't on the top of everyone's list. And since there's only a small amount of coastline and islands relative to the tremendous amount of landlocked world population, scuba diving, boating, and personal water craft have only developed slowly over the years. But there's no reason that can't change...
We've got a great post lined up for later today, (but sometimes you've got to sleep, you know?) but before we get to that, we got an invite to IDSA NYC's happen'n holiday shindig December 16th at Vitra Like always, being stuck in Chi town, we can't make it, but you might be able to. You'll undoubtedly be able to rub elbows with some of the online greats like Grace over at Design Sponge or even some of the rest of the Core77 team. Live it up for us since we can't go alright?
Stir It Up
So. Lets assume you're all back from a great weekend. You're sitting there at your desk thinking "Holy heck, what will I do today?". How about going crazy with the ideation. We know we could use a little shaking up. And there's nothing that gets the old neurons cooking better than a couple of wildly different ideas. So here you go.
The Rise and Fall Of Kids
If you aren't working in a youth related field like toys, or marketing, or fashion, you might have missed out on the latest crop of buzz words. Tween. Kidult. Long Term Adolescence. Gatekeeper User. All part of the biggest blitz to hit design, marketing, and product development since the end of the second world war. Kids are the new mega-consumer.
The Other 1.5 Million Tenants
There are quite a few animals and things kicking around, as you might have noticed. And some designers are beginning to see them as viable user groups. Oh, sure, the pay's not great, but most of these guys can't build things for themselves, and they can make for very challenging problems. Take a look at our Wild Kingdom of Design.
Not Your Dad's Old Guitar
We've written before about innovative musical instruments and about changing perceptual ability. Now, imagine what you can make when you try to do both these at the same time. Some freakin' crazy instruments, that's for sure.
Dominic Muren and IDFuel Team