Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Product Development Session Discount

Mindsparkz will be offering a 50% discount on all Promotional Product Development Sessions to new customers. Let us help you to make a splash at the Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair  this coming April

A deal you don't want to pass up

The market is saturated with standard, uninspiring promotional products. We would love the opportunity to help you break free from that cycle and make the strongest impact possible. If you have a new product idea or a pitch that you want to develop our design team would be happy to breathe life into it.

We will be offering a 50% discount for new customer's first Promotional Products Development Session. This cuts our fee down to US$250.

Our process is generally as follows:
  • Customer delivers a brief with their client's past work & promotions, budget, and any design preferences
  • Research/brainstorming/initial sketching from a team of 3 staff
  • Customer provides feedback on ideas
  • Designers update based on feedback and present them in a PDF or PowerPoint presentation 
     Turnaround per brief is generally 10 working days.

If you have any questions regarding this or any other services (remember our print, packaging, and web design work as well). Please don't hesitate to ask. We always look forward to hearing from new customers.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Some cultural differences between China and the West displayed with photographs

With Chinese year having just passed I thought I would highlight some key cultural differences between China and the west, notably where I am from (The UK).   Whilst you might be wondering what this has to do with Product Design, we as a team invariably are influenced by our surroundings.    

These are a collection of photographs that I have taken that highlight some cultural differences and inspiration we derive from living in such a fun country.   Where do you derive most of your inspiration?

  1. A cat with tiny new-born kittens playing at our feet in a restaurant

2. Wild chickens just hanging about 
3. Dried meat hanging up wherever there is space
4. Dogs dressed up in full outfits(dont forget shoes!)
5. Small children walking around alone with no parent in sight
6. A man that makes balloon rucksacks
7. People wearing funny t-shirts, bad translations, and humorous signposts because English her can be limited
8. Cities made of almost identical buildings
9. Animals being killed and cut open on the streets to highlight how fresh the meat is
10. A lady in a wedding dress on the front of a duvet cover selling ‘Milk Skin Guilt’ 
11. Designated toilet cubicles that are just a few tiles and a hole
There we have it!

You can find other blog posts about Chinese New Year here

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Big things come in small packages, when it comes to product design this can most certainly be the case!

They say big things come in small packages, and when it comes to product design, this can most certainly be the case! I was recently browsing through the design directory on Kickstarter and came across one recent project which really caught my attention.  The product is called Coburns and is a miniature, twin-piece ipad/tablet support stand.

So why exactly did it catch my attention? The pure small-scale size is one of the first aspects of the Coburns which caught my attention. The twin-block pieces are around 2.5cm in length x 1cm thickness. You are now probably thinking “how can such a small product support such a big device?” this is the remarkable thing. Due to the specific cut out slots for the device and the specific material selection of solid wood , the device is supported fully. 

But so what? 2 blocks which can hold your device up, allowing you to view your screen on an angle? This is where the miniature wooden blocks show their full capability. Due to the pin-point precision cuts, the blocks can be lowered and raised along the edge of the ipad/tablet allowing a broad range of viewing angles. This can be achieved portrait or landscape ,depending on the users’ preference.  

In terms of aesthetics, the Coburns deliver a really nice visual appearance or natural and organic wood tones ( light and dark). This keeps the product looking smart and sleek and visually acceptable with the use of all tablets. The wood also contrasts really well with the fabric wool clasp.

Another nice feature about the Coburns is it’s attachment mechanism when transporting/packing away the product when not in use. The two blocks can be attached via 2 magnetic connecting plates, allowing a simple snap fit. The magnetic plates have been chosen particularly with the consideration of the touch screen, meaning no interference will be present when the product is in use.

The Coburns have been manufactured with precision using the finest maple wood. Due the simple initial shape, multiple pieces can be made at once. This can be a very good concept to consider  when designing such items as you do not want to be opening multiple molds for lots of little parts. The edges of the Coburns were involved CNC machining to ensure smooth finishes to prevent scratches on the ipad/tablet from sharp edges.

So overall we can take into account that big things really do come in such small packages with this miniature but fully functional ipad/tablet holder/stand.

Chinese New Years, the greatest annual celebration for Chinese citizens!

Chinese New Years is a very popular time for the Chinese citizens and a festival where maximum effort is put in to producing a beautiful visual celebration! CNY is also known as Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name.

A major iconic theme of Chinese New Year is the vivid use of red, a very patriotic colour to Chinese citizens. It can be noticed in all facets of decoration. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of good fortune, happiness, wealth, and longevity. Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes. These paper envelopes are know as hongbao (no plurals in Chinese!).

On most hongbao you can expect to see intricate Chinese designs and symbols representing this Chinese New Year's animal (the horse) as a symbols of wealth and good health. The red color of the envelope symbolizes luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits. Below is an example of hongbao designs that can be seen:

This design uses negative space to draw attention to the intricate central design. The central design is pure gold, creating a fantastic contrast of red and gold (typically seen on the chinese flag). The central alignment and symmetrical appearance is also a nice touch as it helps promote the simplistic design.

This design is quite different to most common hongbao as it is broken into 3 sections and has a split colour background. Continuing to use the themed colours red and gold, a main logo has been placed on the split line, drawing attention to that part of the design. This is a good way for company branding to be identified easier and also grabs the viewers attention.

This design is also particularly unusual as it uses a reverse color scheme that would usually be seen on a hongbao. A gold background has been used with placement of a red logo. Although different, the colors complement very well and the red center logo can be viewed very clearly. The logo is circular, containing simple yet elegant floral and bird imagery.

Ashongbao are known very well world wide and can be identified with ease, it is a great way for companies to further promote themselves through logo placement, brand identity and customer recognition.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Product Design focus on Chinese Lanterns.

Chinese Lanterns are a particular iconic Product Design that can be witnessed during the celebrations of Chinese new year and is identified by the majority of the world. The iconic squashed sphere form, uses of vibrant,deep red colours, the application intricate gold decoration and base tassels are some of the key features of the Chinese Lantern which makes it such an eye catching product that can be seen from far.

What i particularly like about the lantern is the structure of its body form and the uses of material in order to produce such product with a fantastic weight to strength ratio. The main material used for the lantern is paper, structured and formed around severally different shaped inner rings which act as a support structure to the entire product, allowing the lantern to stay in its position, literally a spine for the product.

Although the main material is paper, once structured with the inner spine, the product design makes this item incredibly sturdy. This type of product design can also be seen in a lot of house lighting such as lamp shades and miniature lamps. There are multiple reasons for the use of this design to be applied to home appliances, some of which include:

1. Lightweight product.
2. Thin paper allows a good amount of light to be visible through.
3. Can be flat packed for easy transportation.
4. Can be applied to a variety of living environments.

As the inner rings vary in size, the product can be folded down to be flat packed, ideal for product transportation but also allows for minimal packaging to be used, saving excessive material costings.

Another advantage of use material as the main body material is that it allows for easy application of image and text printing. There are multiple printing methods that can be applied to paper which offers the designer a variety of finishes, effects such as a foil stamp printing to product similar gold details which can be seen on the Chinese Lanterns. The Lanterns can also be recycled easily and are easy to dispose due to easy biodegration.

Find out more about Lantern & Product Design.

Creating New Products this Christmas

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