Devin has been working super hard to get The Goat and Nectar and Elixir into the hands of product testers. We just got confirmation that Gear Tested has received The Goat ski sling, and an Elixir seat clamp. Be sure to watch their site for the reviews of these 2 great products from Swarm. And remember, Swarm doesn't just design it's own sweet products. We'd love to do some product design work for you! We have a growing portfolio of product development, sourcing, marketing, and web design that showcases our focus on clean design. Shoot us an email, or give us a call. We'd love to talk about your product!
Everybody head over to Kickstarter to check out the NECTAR and ELIXIR seat clamp / bottle opener for your bike. If you want every ride to end well, you'll definitely want to get your own NECTAR fixed seat clamp, or ELIXIR quick release seat clamp. They both have a built in bottle opener, look sweet, and will bring a smile to your face every time you ride!
Remember those sweet new products we introduced about a month ago, right here- Nectar and Elixir? Well, we are finally ready to launch! Like we explained, we are trying out Kickstarter as a launch platform, since it connects cool projects with cool people. Make sure you head over there and check out our project. If you like it, donate, and we'll send you your very own Nectar or Elixir in April as a thank you! Check out the other cool projects, too. Kickstarter has a bunch of awesome people with great projects, and they need your support, too.
More images after the jump...
In the coming weeks Swarm is going to be releasing what may prove to be the most amazing product in the history of the world. First there was the wheel in 4,000 BC. For thousands of years people ignored its true potential until the summer of 1817 when the good Baron Karl von Drais decided to put two wheels together to create what would eventually become the bicycle. Over the following two centuries people made incremental improvements on his design, and slowly the technology progressed to its current state. Bikes have been designed to meet a variety of needs within human society- transportation, fitness, delivery, getting there on time, population control, and being just like all the different people.
Following roughly the same timeline as the wheel, beer is thought to have been developed around 3,500 BC in the area that is now Iran.
Though beer and bikes have been following parallel paths for thousands of years, and beer has often been linked closely with the subculture that sprang up around bicycles, the two have always been separate.
Swarm has finally bridged the gap. We have developed the most important device known to mankind since the invention of both the wheel and beer. What is it? We can't tell you. We can, though, say that it will make biking more rewarding...
Sneak preview after the jump.
I just read a really interesting article by Michael Bieruit over on the design observer. He talks about something near and dear to my heart as a designer- bullshit. Bullshit is the fine art of justifying decisions where no really good justification exists. Most people who know me will tell you that I am exceedingly good at this. Why? I don't know. Maybe it is from writing essays in high school history about popes and kings and famines that, in my mind, had no real relevance. From wanting to do well, and have my work accepted. Maybe because often when a person asks, "Why?", they aren't really looking for a specific answer. The answer itself satisfies. As product designers, one of the main things that we do is shape products through our own very specific view on how things should look. How they should feel. How they should work. When you cut through all the design speak and look through the haze of theory and symbolism, what you find is a design that meets the project goals in the way the designer felt most appropriate. It is about the personal taste of the designer, his intuition, and his very specific view on how it should be.
This is why products designed under Jonathan Ive look drastically different than products designed under Hartmut Eslinger. Razors designed by Dieter Rams look totally different than razors designed by Karim Rashid. Is one right and the other wrong? It depends on who's BS you listen to.
One of my favorite quotes goes like this, "If you can't dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your bullshit." If we're honest with ourselves, this is true every time we sell a design. Our job at that moment is to convince the client that the product we've designed is right for them, and they want some serious justification. For some clients, telling them that we chose a shape because it feels right might not be enough. The client might need a more solid reason to embrace the design. In that moment, we have to pull out the BS. We can't lay it on thick, though, or we'll be called out. The goal is to blur the line between brilliance and bullshit because, in the end, what's the difference?
Last night I had the opportunity to attend a John Mayer concert. That man sure knows how to work a guitar! But during the concert, something kept distracting me. As a design geek, my eye is always drawn to the unique elements of a production, and last night was no exception. One of John's guitarists, Robbie McIntosh, kept pulling out a strange looking guitar. It took some searching, but here it is:
The Duesenberg Double Cat 6/12 is a hollow body electric, and has a wonderful sound. It was such a unique design that I had to spend some time searching for it. You want to know the sad part? The real reason that I was searching so much is that I thought this guitar was super ugly. I still think so. Something about the way the curves all come together at the neck just isn't clean. Let's hope that it is shaped that way for some very esoteric acoustic reasons!
Anyway, ugly though it is, it is unique, memorable, and it is really good at its primary job- this guitar sounds beautiful. So this brings up the question, "is it OK for a product to be ugly if it works really well?" I answer this with a big NO! You can have the best product in the world, but if it is not shaped properly to entice people, you will vastly limit your market penetration.
The success of a product is based on many factors- form, function, marketing, distribution, cost, etc, etc, etc... For a product to succeed, it must work better, look better, be accessible, be visible, and be desirable. Missing out on any one of these points puts a roadblock between the product and the consumer. It is important to consider the big picture view of a product as it is developed. If you don't, you're dooming your product from the start.
Always remember, people buy things because the product speaks to them in some way. It is up to you to make sure that the product says the right things!