What is it with Nike anyway?

Browsing the Core frontpage, I see this corefolio highlighted…

And this image…

The concept is great. Excellent execution and it’s an interesting exploration of transportation and form.

But why include Nike into this? And this is certainly not the first time someone has posted their “Nike” future product. What is the rationale behind labeling a brand on anything? (Shoes I understand… for the most part, and concept versions of existing products) But why do people feel like they need to include a companies brand into their personal concept? Do people think that if they drop a Nike logo on a computer monitor, it will make it more believable? Or that they’ll get employment from the company from flattery?

I’d love to hear what people think.

As a student, I did some concepts with existing brands. It gives a student an aesthetic direction to explore and it allows the teacher or employer to see if the student is capable of understanding a brand aesthetically and whether they can then implement that into their own designs.

Mind you, I didn’t have any of these brands mentioned by name in my portfolio. I do find that weird because I’m either disappointed when I see these concepts, because I think, “Oh Nike is normally so much better than this”. Or, I dismiss it as, “well, of course the team at Nike could bang this out”. I never stop to think, “oh this is a student project?” hehe.

Products are like children, they need parents.

Personally it turns me off

My friend (a design and technology teacher) despairs because the kids put swooshes on everything.

I’m sure Nike love it but it all seems a bit conformist to me.

I hate it more when people show their inspired by the iphone or ipod. Arrgh!! Stop it with your brand worship!

I suspect I might be in the minority though. :laughing:

I don’t believe it’s the minority but regardless I’ll join you. I’ve seen more Apple desks, chairs, and generic product items than I care to remember.

I’m with Mr-914 here. I think it (can be, though not always is) a good design/brand exercise. It’s important to think of the brand you are designing for, and the market and visual cues that are associated with that brand when designing any object. Student projects like this that take one brand and appropriate it to another product category are very valuable when correctly executed.

It is important however to do more than slap a logo on something. I’ve likewise seen this a lot with student footwear designers, putting a swoosh on everything and more often than not, it doesn’t help. If it’s supposed to be a Nike for some particular reason, fine, but it better carry/push the brand DNA. If not, it detracts.

I remember actually doing a similar brand extension project in second year. We had to take an existing brand/product line and create a new product in the line following the aesthetic and branding. I did a Lamy calculator based on those iconic Lamy pens. I found it to be a good exercise and taught that design aesthetics have both appropriate and inappropriate applications.

A similar project involving design cues and affordances I remember was a project where we had to make a model of a “thing” (with no intended function or purpose) in the aesthetic style of either a medical device, consumer product, or kid’s toy. I remember doing a centrifuge looking thing with white glossy and teal surfaces, vents, touchpad controls, machined aluminum test tube rack, warning labels, etc. It certainly looked medical and was a good intro to both model making and “design for context”.


I remember our third year we had a project around branding. We were doing a houseware, but we took two weeks out and redesigned our concept around two existing brands. The results were interesting. I remember mine: Rickenbacker and Zanussi. My Ric ached all of their styling cues, badly. The Zanussi was better, it caught the feeling without just slapping the equivalent of a swoosh on the side.

I think it is good because as a designer, you will be working for a brand, or for clients, and you will have to understand that brand in order to be successful… but you concept has to relate to that brand and further it.

So, to use the example above, if you apply to Nike, and you have a Nike branded car in your portfolio, you had better have a good reason why Nike would make a car. Nike is a company build around human potential, sport, athleticism, and well being. How would a car further those things? It would be a huge stretch, and you would probably be grilled in an interview… now a Nike Bicycle… sure. A Nike home Gym, yep. A Nike TV… nope. A Nike chair, probably not, unless id doubled as a crunch machine…

So, these are good exercises, just ake sure they make sense, and ad to your idea.

This is really what I have the most problem with. Nike just happened to be the whipping boy today. It could have easily been Apple, etc.

And slapping the equivalent of a swoosh on the side of a product is where things go horribly wrong. 914, your example is what to do right, as well as I’m sure your calculator/pen example is rkutch. To me, slapping a logo on a poorly thought out product is the equivalent of “knowing Illustrator really well” and calling yourself a designer. I work with branding on a daily basis and it just irks me when the brand identity is not adhered to. The concept above really doesn’t fit into that category, it just made me think.



I completely agree. I’ve done a lot of projects that were about brands and branding and fell I was relatively successful… but stuff like this I don’t get, it just isn’t convincingly Nike in any way.

Here is what Nike itself designed:

I think the car NURB posted is generically Nike. If it was painted blue and white instead of red and silver, the designer could have claimed it as a VW. It’s nice, but not a home run.

taken from coroflot page:

“There is a worldwide competition sponsored by Nike. This triathalon starts on the beaches of Cape Town passes through the Sahara desert and ends in Alaska. The concept was born within this context”

You drive this vehicle over some rough terrain to get to where you want to go to surf, snowboard, climb etc.

not sure if it is a real thing or an event the guy made up, but his explanation is good enough for me as to why the car is Nike. Looks rad too.

I have seen worse brand extension concepts.
Like the Heinz ‘timemachine-like’ backup hard-drive - heinz-sight.
Why? Not sure. Nothing to do with beans or ketchup… Good pun though.

Please don’t think I’m ripping this guy’s design… it was simply a starting point for a larger discussion.

Hey guys actually I’m not new here but 've been lurking here for a long time since my 1st year! so here’s my first oppinion don’t go hard on me :smiley:

I’m with Yo here

The brand-DNA, brand-essence or whatever you’d like to call it can be intepret in to a wide-range of things from the tangible product itself to an intangible one like services and so far so on

look at apple as the example their brand-essence can be interpret into a guy as you see on their ads more or less in to their retail experience too

back to our topic here…
what i’m try to say is when we say “Nike” it doesn’t need to be “Shoe” like Yo mentioned it can be Nike bike or even a gym/fitness center as long as it deliver the same essence and value to customer mind.

I see nothing wrong with this car we’re talking about and think that the underlying concept goes well with Nike ACG product line.

this thing can be a good marketing weapon if use it wisely!

Yeah but spare a thought for those of us that have just reviewed shoe #1001 inspired by the iphone.

It’s a good excercise to use a brand and design to the DNA.

It’s not a good excercise to design whatever you want and slap a swoosh on.

If you must do it, consider picking a brand that isn’t such an obvious choice. Even pick a brand that’s not your favourite - something that you have to study in order to understand? It would be great practise for being a designer in a commercial environment, because it is a great skill to have, to know to design for any consumer, one that has different taste to you?

Just so we can have a bit of a change, you know?

I had an art teacher who banned us from sketching pictures of the cooling towers at the power station, the most obvious thing in our town and the most obvious choice for a sketch.

I had a footwear design tutor who banned us from using falling leaves as a background to any artwork for the fall season.

If I was an ID tutor, I’d definately ban anything ‘i’ inspired :laughing:

couldn’t agree more!

totally agree as well, i just am so “swoosh fatigued”, im so much more interested when i see an branded project that isnt nike or apple. Not that they cant be done well, but just the easy way to go maybe? Again, not necessarily relating to that car design, but just in general.

You could use any off roader in that context. Not good enough.

As my old boss, Aaron, used to say. “It’s easy to do good design for Phillips, try doing it for a brand not known or respected for design”

and you know what? When you go for that job interview at Nike and you’re the one that doesn’t have swoosh overload in your portfolio as in you’ve actually really thought about what brand dna is and you’ve really challenged yourself, it can only work in your favour. I’m sure everyone there has had their fair share of fanboys and they will look beyond that for creativity

Years ago when I was a teenybopper, I won my favourite bands fan club painting competition, I think because I might have been the only entrant that didn’t paint a picture of my heartthrob, but painted a picture of his favourite animal instead. :blush: You get my point, though?

Design managers the world over will thank us for this thread! :sunglasses:

“It’s easy to do good design for Phillips, try doing it for a brand not known or respected for design”

totally true.

I know several designers that have their resume full of awards for corporate branded products, but have never been recognized for products that don’t have an existing brand language propping it up. Not to say they aren’t great designers, it just seems like less of an accomplishment