Thursday, 29 January 2009

Freak show products

In a post-material age, brands and designers should be creating experiences and products that tap into a more irrational, elusive and imagination-driven society. We should be looking at designers such as Freddie Yauner, the RCA graduate who creates products for a new era of fantasy and imagination. 

For the consumer or status seeker who has everything and all the 'right' brands - such as the Dualit toaster, why not try 'the world's highest-popping toaster' instead, arguably, Yauner's flagship product. Function has gone as far as it can, we're now at a point where design has become about the idiosyncratic fantasy. 

Then there's 'the 'world's most intricate diary', so-called because it provides two pages per hour. For those with less time on their hands, Yauner's 'the fastest clock in the world' might be more appropriate. It offers digital time to a millionth to a second. I love that all the product names sound like they should be in a freak show. This is about putting the spectacle back into new product.

Brands should be working with blue-sky creatives like Yauner to make their products and services more inventive, unique, and spectacular. Imagine Yauner got together with someone dull and in need of imagination such as Dell or Braun or First Great Western (the brand names alone fill you with despair). Could we be seeing 'the world's curliest curling tong' or 'the most scenic railway route'? 

Forget justifiable rational product claims, this is about tapping into the the consumer's imagination and desires and dreaming up the most hyperbolic brand promises you can inspire.

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