Design Slam #1: Info, Rules & Design Brief

Core77 Design Slam #1:
“Non-Consumables for Consumers”

Start Date: January 1, 2005
End Date: Februay 14, 2005

The Core77 DesignSlam is a series of forum-based design competitions that are open, collaborative and dynamic. Participants post their work-in-progess to the discussion board forum, and other forum members provide commentary, criticism and suggestions. At the end of the Slam, participants are judged on both the quality of their work, as well as the quality of their participation and exchange in the forum. DesignSlam aims to be interactive, educational, supportive, and fun.

Design Slam #1: Design Brief
Industrial design is littered with examples of so-called product “innovations” in which consumer convenience—real or imagined—parades as justification for increasing corporate profit: Durable plastic food containers are replaced by single-use disposable containers; percolating coffeemakers are replaced by drip coffee machines (and now “pod” coffee systems); dustpans are replaced by throwaway static-generating cloths; standard DVDs are replaced by self-destructing rental DVDs.

In too many cases, “innovation” is based almost entirely on the creation of a throwaway consumable, with profit generated primarily in the replacement of that consumable. For the end-user, it’s often considered easier and faster to throw away a cheap plastic container than wash something intended to be reused.

One case study of rethinking the consumable approach is, of course, the Dyson vacuum cleaner, where indeed manufacturers dismissed his innovation in favor of a lucrative replacement filter business. But the machines are increasing in market share, and people have adapted their behavior (and their budgets) for a better product design. There are doubtless many solutions overlooked or dismissed by manufacturing—not because they lack ingenuity or application, but because they don’t follow a “consumable” business model. It therefore stands to reason that older products are worth re-investigating from a different perspective. Who better to do this than Industrial Designers?

At the heart of this design challenge is to design a product that convinces consumers to positively change their behavior; to create a product that rejects the notion of convenience-through-disposablility, yet is so desirable on its other merits (ergonomics, function, recycleability, style, charm, etc.) that they resist the temptation to purchase its rivals’ “use & toss” ethos.

This design slam is a WIP (Work-in-Progress) competition and is intended to be a learning experience for all forum members. Winners will be judged both by their competition entry but also by their forum participation. Forum members who do not enter are encouraged to offer feedback, encouragement and constructive critiques. To participate:

  1. Entrants are required to start a thread for themselves in the “DesignSlam #1: Non-Consumables for Consumers” forum, and submit WIP images documenting the development process. To help identify these entries, the thread subject line must follow the format:

Slam #1: Entry title

(For example: “Slam #1: Loose Tea Strainer”)

  1. Each WIP thread should document the project from start to finish and should include at a minimum:

a) An initial project statement including which product is being investigated and why
b) Thumbnail/ideation sketches showing problem-solving process
c) A forum post communicating the final solution including the following items:

  • 1 image showing the object
  • 1 image showing context/solution
  • 1 image showing details, exploded view, etc.
  • Descriptive text (max. 200 words)

Notes: The WIP images posted on the forum should not be larger in format than 800 x 600. In-progress images should have a file size no larger than 100kb. Final submission images can have a file size up to 150kb. You can of course post links to larger images. This is done so that even those on slow connections can easily view the work. Please respect this limitation.

Since this competition is “open hand”-style—that is, participants will be showing their designs as they develop them—participants will be judged on both their WIP forum participation as well as their design solution (50% each). You will need to enter a design to win, but you will also need to provide constructive criticism and suggestions to others. At the end of the competition period, winners will be chosen based on both a poll of forum members, as well as feedback from the forum moderator and Core77 representatives. Winners will be those participants who contributed the most to the forum, both in design content and constructive discussion.

Grand Prize: $250 cash prize plus $75 Core77 GiftPack (T-shirt, SuperSampler camera, stickerpack, stadium cups)
2 Runners Up: Core77 Giftpacks each

Winners will be announced on the Core77 homepage and featured in the monthly newsletter.

Intellectual property rights will remain with the designer, although Core 77 retains the nonexclusive right to republish any winning design on its website for promotional and competition archival purposes only. Work must be original for the challenge. Once the deadline has been reached all WIP threads will be locked. DEADLINE is final. No extensions.