Ridiculous product requests?

Being an ID’er I get TONS of ideas from people. Friends, family, acquaintances, just provide me with product ideas or ask me for things all the time; hot-rod designs, random products, i was actually asked to design a house once :unamused: . I got one a while ago, and it was on my mind making me wonder… what is the most ridiculous thing you have been asked to design?

I’ll try to keep mine as clean as I can, as it was asked to me in incredible raunchy language :blush:

I was talking to an elderly acquaintance who recently had a hospital stay. During said stay he was asked to give urine samples, but being that he was just in surgery his waste system was… testy and uncontrollable. He had to sit on the edge of the toilet, with the aid of a nurse, in order to urinate into a cup and avoid defecating in his bed or on the floor.

So, he asked me to design a toilet for hospitals with a cutaway such that your #1 unit could be free to provide urine samples, but your #2er would be safely hovering above water.

Imagine this being asked by an 85 year old man, who cusses like a sailor.

Condom catheter

Thats interesting, so you did the design right?

I have a couple… one was a logo for a shrimp farmer that had set up shop in the warehouse district of a inland town. His angle was to grow shrimp in aquariums in this warehouse, then sell the fresh shrimp to local restaurants - the whole operation sounded kind of crackpot and I never heard how that all worked out

Another was a small PC project, the military was forecast to be a huge client. The ridiculous part was that they wanted a small target on the outside so a soldier could shoot the hard drive and ditch it if he had to

another client wanted to make a multimeter add on for a Symbol sized handheld pda… but the multimeter internals were larger than the pda itself - it would have looked ridiculous! luckily that one didn’t go further than sketches

It’s not so much of the “what”, but the “why” that makes or breaks it for me.

When I graduate from college I had someone ask me to do product illustrations for a S3X toy. Needless to say I politely declined. Not something you really want in your portfolio,

Another was a small PC project, the military was forecast to be a huge client. The ridiculous part was that they wanted a small target on the outside so a soldier could shoot the hard drive and ditch it if he had to

That’s an awesome idea. A really low tech, idiot proof alternative to a built-in self destruct mechanism.

You missed the boat dude, that’s exactly the kind of diversity we all need in our portfolio. And seriously, that is a market that is so overripe for design, it is insane.

Why not? SXX Toy?


There actually are some high quality toys that are done by industrial designers, as I saw on TV few years ago. When finding a job ad from that company months later I sincerely thought about leaving industrial goods for toys. Vibratoren, Dildos und Sextoys | FUN FACTORY?

For me its a matter of quality. If you are able to develop a segment leading
solution it will always be a positive addition to your portfolio.

What was the silliest thing I ever worked on?

A brush for pets. It was intended for dogs early on, but due to tooling costs
they shrunk our design and in the end it was only good for cats or smaller.

Best thing with that client was his blonde secretary.

This was not one of those. It was a far from being a designer toy. Oh well.


I may be old, but I am not that old. Condom catheters have been around forever.

I am working on a different type of catheter, but it is way too early to disclose anything about that project. Maybe next year.

heheh… wasn’t that one, but it is ridiculous! My logo was more like a shrimpy take on an earl grey tea logo, trying to read “high quality”

I know you wont like this answer, but starting out in a time not unlike this you learn one thing “there is no such thing as a ridiculous project if they have the cash money to pay for it.” What may be crazy, stupid or disgusting in your eyes makes some sense in theirs. This may be due to the fact that they know their market, it may be they as shit house rat crazy but in the end they are a client with money. Somebody wants a cool drawing of a new s3x toy, do it, and if its good put it in your portfolio. I would rather see a bunch of stuff that was paying jobs than pretty pictures of “design prn” any day. It says the designer is a DESIGNER and understands the realities of the business place, and is somebody I can count on.

I thought this was funny and somewhat intriguing the more I thought about it.

My buddy bought a 10 pound bag of instant pancake mix from sam’s club which brought issues of dispensing it. He told me I should design a pancake mix silo for him.

I have another friend who will turn to me when there is some inconvenience or problem and ask me to industrial design it. He asked me to industrial design the time on his dvd player the other day.

Sorry to call you out here Design coterie…not intended to be a slam on you personally…

but it absolutely horrifies me that “industrial design” may become a verb. Not sure why…but it is off-putting.

May be the wine.

I love how the fun factory web site advertises that one of the toys has won a red dot award, how awesome is that? I think Karim Rashid and/or Marc Newson did toys of Lelo a few years ago.

Apparently Industrial Design is already a verb. I’ve had friends say that coworkers (marketing) have come to them and say can you ID this for us quick?

We thought it would be cool to come up with some sort of stamp, like with a guy with raybans with his thumb up, as if to say “This product has been ID-ed”

I had an internship a few summers back and while there I lived in what was like a boarding house, month to month rent. My neighbor had spent some time in prison and thought up the solution to all our problems and wanted me to help him “design” an hole in the center of the pacific that went through to the atlantic with a bit turbine in the it so that the water draining out of the pacific would generate all the earths electricity. I’m not going to speculate whether that would work or not, but I politely declined. I also proceeded to sleep with a 5 iron for the rest of the summer just in case…