New Swingline Products. What happened?

The new Swingline staplers by PDT in the Bullitts section. Question. What happened to the beautiful language Swingline had going on for the last decade? They had all the features then that PDT claims are now new. I see the old designs everywhere… offices, takeout counters, drycleaners, retail checkout… How can a company go from such standouts to this?

Regime Change.

I’m not sure of the circumstances, but around ‘99 when Tim Parsey left ACCO to head Motorola’s design group, much of his staff, including Scott Wilson jumped ship, and they shut down their new So-Cal operation. If Scott’ lurking around maybe he can fill us in.

It’s amazing how just a few people leaving can affect a company of that size.

I’m SW will see this and way in, but I gotta say, the new ones look like the bad, mass market knock-offs of the old ones.

I participated in some of the refinement for these new staplers. I can say that the ones on the site are just the steel ones which are the most conservative of them all. The other plastic ones have a lot of new integrated features that I’ve never seen in any staplers. Really well thought out and executed. In general though, I believe they were going for a more conservative look than the older ones you’re talking about.
–Edited. Sorry if anyone was offended by the previous, didn’t think I was going out of bounds. No harm intended at all.

how long was Parsey there? i remember headhunters calling people to form team around him. say '97?

on new products, i’ll wait til i see them all. old ones were okay. i disliked big elastomer ones… lousy staplers that got real dirty. like and use the small plastic one. see it and first thought is Hannibal tape dispenser tho.

btw this should be in Consumer Products section.

i sorta wish the secretary could stand on her head. atleast for christmas.

I think the little stapler you refer to was via the Ross Lovegrove collaboration.

The Apple eMate came out in '97 too, right around when Parsey left Apple for ACCO. Cracks me up:

never cared for that eMate tbh. but here’s Hannibal

first site pops up on search is figures. but it’s '98. important for me was seeing all that plastic in a simple product. but it wasnt inexpensive. saw one in a store in Cologne when it came out. something like US $100. back when dollar was strong. that little stapler was first simple product i saw that did the clear ribbing as well that wasnt expensive. great little product. i’m always holding it. even when not using.

hi all,

we trust freelancers to have integrity within the design community, and the freelancer who posted a reply in this list made a poor decision. Please remember that as freelancers you are bound by NDAs and your own reputation–without it you will have a very hard time finding work.

are you nuts? NDAs are worthless. buy a gun.

You’re joking right?

There is no ethical problem with the post in question. An NDA binds you to not endanger the integrity of the design before it is released to the public. If someone wants to discuss things after the fact they have every right.

EVERY project goes through political BS with engineering, marketing, accounting, the factory, and even within design. The fact that was mentioned is a given.

I was just trying to defend the product that I felt was executed well. Didn’t think I mentioned anything at all that would be considered crossing the bounds. Sorry if you felt that way, I’ll be more careful in the future. It’s just hard sitting back and seeing work bashed for the wrong reasons. But everyone’s entitled to their own opinion I guess.

NDA’s worthless?? - hmmm if you treat them this way then your reputation will very quickly become so, Sometimes it isn’t that hard to work out who’s who in this business.

Defending a product is commendable but inviting a personal message for an inside scoop is not.

In regards to the staplers, as a professional you should be assesing the designs based upon appropriateness for market rather than your personal feelings.

If you understand who they are designed for, who will buy them and who will use them - then you will quickly appreciate integration of specific functionality, aesthetic, material and overall design

Lord Parsey was hired in the summer of '96, and left in Oct. '99. The small staff of designers and consultants were (and are) enormously talented and the products, particularly within the Swingline and WilsonJones products, reflected influences from Lovegrove, Julian Brown, Marcia Lausen and others.

The Apple eMate had some influence on the Worx Pocket Staplers, but it was mostly a combination of Lovegrove’s concepts and Julian Brown’s Attila can crusher (check out those ribs) in terms of influence. SW provided the rest of the magic. The execution level for production on the Worx is very close to some of the original concepts, given the nature of ACCO.

Unforunately, ACCO doesn’t share the same history as Apple or Nike when it comes to design. Parsey was the champion in that organization, but one can only fight the good fight for so long. There was some consolidation and inventory reduction in the retail sector, and the never ending drive to cut manufacturing costs. It was dissappointing to see this brief era of design end, and it is still disheartening to see our main competitors rip off ACCO’s work and kick us out of places like Wal-Mart, Target and the catalouges.

I think the work that PDT and S. Kim has done is well executed, both on the staplers and some of the WilsonJones concepts. It is because of the work done at ACCO NPD that has at least raised the awareness of a need of design involvement within the organization, which is a far cry from where ACCO was before Parsey.

From the description: [The staplers] "are a study in head-turning design, ergonomics, and intuitive, high-end functions and features. PDT’s design and engineering teams applied Swingline’s 3 years of extensive user research to to create innovative tools, such as low-staple indicators, staple storage areas, hidden staple removers and precision alignment, building these into the staplers. The Optima Grip Stapler (above) is made of die cast steel, staples up to 2-25 sheets of 20 lb. paper, and is available in chrome silver, royal blue and black for about $16. "

I’m sure these are fine staplers, but isn’t all this “innovation” and “study in head-turning design” hype a bit much?

Some context:

thanks Redwing. always good to know some background. Lord Parsey? subtle.

I’m sure these are fine staplers, but isn’t all this “innovation” and “study in head-turning design” hype a bit much?

Go to Check out the Indicator and the Companion, middle box at the bottom of the pop up window. That’s where you will see the more innovative features.

Maybe so, however having “Pioneered advanced interruption and permission marketing concepts by use of technology.” yourself I am sure you are someone who appreciates the ability to tell a good story


All in good spirit (no harm meant)

what i don’t understand is how can you guarantee that the stapler doesn’t fall just as you reach to grab it or if some folder or other objects hits it, or you forget to put it back on table the same way you picked it up, or last time you used your left hand now you want to use your right hand to pick it up and it’s approximately one foot out of reach so you wish it was sitting like other normal staplers because before this apparently innovative design you could slide your stapler much easier on the table.

i give this stapler design a -5 out of ten.

it’s a good morning. i understood ufo. and agree. vertical orientation made more sense when desks were crowded w big CRTs. space was prime. w flat panel screens and smaller cpu’s need doesnt seem as great. space saving always important. but where is trade off line?

btw, didnt see the stuff on the site. the “middle” link on page. my new Firefox browser wants plugins. i’m resisting. some other link for pictures?