Art Basel is back in Hong Kong
This past weekend, buymedesign.com (an amazing online design shop) curated and hosted a small but totally awesome exhibition called In Bed with Designers. It was hosted at Mini Hotel in Central, where 50 designers exhibited in 30 guest rooms converted into exhibition booths.
Head over to their website to find out more.
Business of Design Week is an annual design conference in Hong Kong. Every year a partner country is selected and most of the featured speakers are from that country. This year it was Belgium.
Notable highlights from the conference.
"Hangzhou Handmade" curated by Pinwu Studio, is a Salone del Mobile regular. The theme is about traditional craftsmanship applied for the future.
Toyo Ito - Redesigning temporary housing for calamities
Architect Toyo Ito criticised current practices of housing victims of calamities. Gyms, town halls or converted shipping containers are designed for housing; therefore, does little to give any form of comfort or to boost moral. His proposal is an easy to build house that incorporates all the amenities that a normal house provides. The result is happier inhabitants that spurred higher spirit of community.
Ten Types of Innovation
Larry Keeley was on site to talk about his book "Ten Types of Innovation"
"Initially developed in 1998, the Ten Types of Innovation showed that companies that integrate multiple types of innovation will develop offerings that are more difficult to copy and that generate higher returns.
The Ten Types rapidly became a key tool for innovators everywhere—used by entrepreneurs at startups and by industry leaders across the globe.
In 2011, we updated the framework to reflect how business and the world have evolved in the last 15 years. With all-new analysis, data and insights, one thing hasn’t changed: the Ten Types of Innovation framework still provides a great way to identify new opportunities and develop defensible innovations."
Source : Doblin
Highly recommended book!
AngelHack is in Hong Kong for Mobile App Hackathon this weekend and Build Republic was onsite to lend a Design hand to participants. There were over 200 attendees and a total of 27 projects submitted for the competition.
Notable shortlisted projects
We appreciate the only hardware based project of the competition.
The 24 things
The 24 things is a social networking app that lets users select 24 things that they are emotionally connected to. Unlike on Facebook where users are mindlessly liking things. The limit of 24 things forces user to be more thoughtful on the things that they pick to align themselves with, users can then engage in conversation about the things that they care about. Potentially, brands can keep track of customer loyalty or their complaints.
Build Republic lent a little hand with the UI design.
VoiceOut! is a facebook app that lets users voice out grievances about current events. This app was made out of the creator's frustration with the Hong Kong government for rejecting the application of HKTV for free-TV license without giving a reasonable explanation. It shows that a lot of people share the same frustration because they won the crowd favorite app award.
Two weeks ago, the summer heat here in Hong Kong made me took a cooler route through the Apple store in Causeway Bay. As I walk pass the huge accessory wall, a round looking object caught my attention. From afar, I thought I was looking at another personal bluetooth speaker, just hanging there without any packaging. So it got me curious and made me went over to investigate. Turns out it was the Misfit Shine.
The Misfit Shine is another new entry into the fast growing wearable fitness tracking market. It launched on indiegogo back in November 2012 and ended with a successful campaign of raising US$846,675 in January 2013.
The unique shape of the packaging is definitely an attention grabber, it's able to separate itself from all the other boxes and the noise of information on the accessory wall.
The back of the package is super simple, only 2 sentences in English describing the product, a simple illustration of the product and what the dot display represented. There were no bold keywords or bullet point lists of features normally found on a packaging of a small company. This really impressed me because I am a strong believer that packaging is part of the product experience and it should not be compromised by treating it as a media for sales pitches (more on this later).
One detail of the packaging that I found very thoughtful was the hang-tab. Unlike other packaging that normally adds a stick on hang-tab as an afterthought, the Misfit's packaging hang-tab is a custom designed disc that you pull out to hang and it retracts when you take the package off the hanger. This solution made the packaging so much more elegant and confident. It tells me that the designers took a lot of care in designing the packaging and I could trust that the product inside is just as well thought out.
Unfortunately, the unboxing experience for me was somewhat of a letdown. The front clear plastic and the back container is held together by stickers, 2 on top and one one big label sticker underneath the base. To open the box, you simply peel off the 2 upper stickers. This is where the letdown begins,
going through the layers of compartments require you to constantly use your nail and I find this to be annoying.
It's nowhere near intuitive because it's hard to know where to pull or flip. I wonder why the designers didn't use "pull tabs" to solve this problem because I'm sure they had considered it.
Popping the shine from the panel wasn't perfect either, it requires a certain force to separate the device from the holding panel. In my case, my Shine flew off and bounced around the table and fell on the floor, ouch!
The overall feel of the packaging and the accessories that comes with are very high quality and neatly arranged.
This minimalistic packaging solution that emphasizes on user experience rather than designing it as if it's a Point of Purchase are common for large companies like Google or Apple. Some would argue that this is possible because they have millions of dollars in advertising money, but the Misfit showed that it could also work for a small company. Today there are so many cost-effective platforms online that gives small companies the chance to attract and engage their customers even before their product is ready to launch. Misfit used online platform by reaching out on Indiegogo to potential customers and to assess the demand, build a stronger relationship with their early adopters, and use feedback to make their product better.
I think by having a good presence online they were able to tell their story clearly and convert customers even before the product is available in store. This is essentially the reason that allowed them to design their packaging for user experience and tell a continuation of their online story rather than using it as a boxed salesman that people have to take home and later discard.
As much as I applaud the packaging design from a marketing point of view, I can't help but feel bad that it's going to be another high quality plastic packaging that will end up an environmental hazard when I throw it away.
"The brand level imagery visualises the forever brand message through a sense of time and captured personal moments"
A friend of mine shared this on facebook and I thought it was hilarious and insightful at the same time. When designers start explaining their work like this, you know there are no real innovation or substance with the work. Interestingly, most of the quotes are from branding identity projects. This either shows that brand identity is really difficult to nail down or designers shouldn't pose as marketing consultants. Perhaps designers should simply focus on graphic solutions and businesses should focus more time on identifying the brand values and how the brand can make an authentic connection with its customer.
check out more designjargonbullshit.com
Nike unveiled a new app specifically created for designers. It helps designers make better material choices by providing graphical easy to understand comparison of each material such as the amount of waste, amount of energy to produce, water usage comparison etc..
check it out at http://nikemakers.com/how-making-works
Our facility just acquired a MakerBot Replicator 2!
Marketing using social networking platform is a cheap way to reach targeted customers and Linkedin's patented 3rd level network offers a unique advantage in targeted customer reach.