WEIRDEST design request....?

What is the WEIRDEST or CRAZIEST thing you’ve ever had to design? Or been asked to design?


I had a third shift FedEx employee want me to design a car for GM because she heard they were looking to the public for ideas. They were really doing consumer research, but she thought they wanted designs. She wanted me to draw and pontiac sunfire with a corvette rear end, then take that drawing to GM and ask for 10 million dollars. She thought it really ‘jazzed’ it up.

I didn’t do the drawing but a friend did. She came back to me with the drawing and wanted me to go to GM with the drawing and pitch the idea and ask for the 10 million. She was going to give me 10%. I should have accepted and taken a film crew along for the entire process. It would be a design cult classic, like Roger and Me. It would be worth MILLIONS

If I could only find a film crew willing to work for 10% of the net on the DVD sales. :confused:

wow! that car sounds…interesting.

i know someone that had to design a rubber chicken. I thought those things were just roaming the earth with no home, having been made by the millions or billions even! :slight_smile:

…sounds like a 1973 opal gt to me…my first project out of uni was a belt massager, for those under 50, it resembled a double wheel stand grinder with a utility pole climbing belt attached…one of the most amazingly stupid contraptions ever conceived.

A lolipop against bad breath, they sell like hell in japan, but boring to design

I don’t generally get strange requests but I do marvel at the language used my marketing and advertising types versus designers.

I have to keep from laughing out loud everytime I get an email asking me to do one of the following:

  1. Spice it up
  2. Jazz it up
  3. It’s not “flashy enough”
  4. Make it dance
  5. It needs to sparkle
  6. It’s too “insert random artists name” needs to be more “insert random artists name again”

It gets much worse but these are my most recent requests.

I was told that a handle that I designed was “too sexy”
Something we were redesigning to appeal to a more feminine market.

But it was just “too sexy”

Here goes…ahhhh memories

I was once asked by a local medical clinic to design and prototype a number of realistic anatomical models for use as teaching aids in a medical school. “Cool… no problem… we’ll come by your office and learn a bit more about the project.”

So…We arrived at the clients’ office to hear about the project and they bring out a pile of old, discolored, melted, (you get the idea) silicon models of… penises and vaginas. She proceeds to explain in great detail while holding the one of the female models how “this bit here is too floppy”, “this bit is too small” , "more space needs to between this and that etc… And of course, like good designers, we were very diligent in making notes, asking questions, and taking pictures.

We left the meeting with 4 or 5 models each as samples and had to carry them down the hall, into the elevator, down the street and back to the car.

As these items were medical teaching models they had to be as realistic as possible and what the client was essentially after was for us to make a casting of a male and female model and then turn that into a mold for reproduction in silicon.

The internal meetings that followed were fairly hilarious as we tried to figure out the appropriate life-like production materials, best way to cast people, who would do the casting, how much wine would be consumed first…and brainstormed on how we would actually find models who met the “medical” requirements.

The kicker was… The client couldn’t really afford to pay and suggested that we do the work in exchange for “the rights” to produce additional copies of the models which they thought every other medical school would want to purchase from us.

In the end I ended up leaving the project prior to completion for another job and I’m not sure if it ever went anywhere.

My company bid to design a breast pump last year. Not a terribly odd thing in general but since I’m a man with no children it was completely foriegn to me. Educating myself on these devices proved to be interesting. Each one has its own website with instructional videos, etc. There is something creepy about having to watch hours of breast pumping videos with co-workers looking over your shoulder. Unfortunately the project was cancelled due to funding problems but it was definitely a unique and eye opening experience.

Sex furniture. No joke.

Original drawings were pretty sweet. Really fun to work on, too, and the photo shoots! oh man. :blush:

we had a client that wanted us to design something for children that could teach them how to do a cartwheel and could be sold at Wal-Mart.

essentially, we ended up designing a very large hamster wheel that the child could stand in…imagine Da Vinci’s dude standing in a circle with outstretched hands grabbing a handle and standing on a rung for each foot. we determined that there would have to be three versions from a human factors perspective to accommodate children between the ages of 5 and 16 years of age.

can u imagine that? our client insisted that the child could easily stop the thing by simply extending their foot or hand and placing it on the ground…while they were rolling. :unamused:

i made a scale model of it, put one of our little woodie mannequins in it, rolled it down the sidewalk (it was about 14" tall) and watched it come to a stop kind of like how a quarter stops spinning.

oh, also, it was made to fit in a box so a parent could assemble it.

this was for children to play with…to teach them how to do a cartwheel.

…and speaking of medical products:

  1. A personal, micro massager. It strapped to one finger and was for use on the temples or any other area that might relieve stress.

  2. A hair trimmer that extended to allow one to shave their own back hair.

During my Design career, I’ve been asked many time to offer some design solutions as a part of an interview process.

BEWARE guys!
I know some people take interview just for this reason (to get FREE material)


Anatomically correct nut cracker/bottle opener, modeled after a very well endowed female…and the client wanted it to be headless…

I think he had issues…

Doggy door like an automatic garage door, to be operated by a dog.

Mini-spade shovel for flower planting. A tool essentially unchanged in millenia but young dude had revolutionary new idea! It wasn’t.

A remote control to find the lost remote control. Seriously, unnamed Asian contract EMS was going to sell it to Sony, Matsushita, etc.

A give-away (i.e. manufactured cost had to pennies) auger-screw paint dispenser. Whats wrong with (free) lifting and pouring?

And my favourite:

“Make it look more military but not military-like.”

I once had a design brief entitled ‘Buffalo meets no box leaning snoboard man’.

WFT??? :laughing: