Posts tagged “t-shirts”

Curating Consumption

Since Johnny Holland has said farewell, we’ll be continuing this series here on All This ChittahChattah. Here’s some stories and observations that Beth and Steve have assembled over the past few weeks.

Tim Hortons beverage pricing offers a large number of sizes with a tiny, silly price difference. No doubt there are graphs that prove this is a good pricing strategy, if upselling by 11 cents turns out to have any impact on the bottom line. As a shopper, I find it mind-boggling; the friction for supersizing is almost zero and now I have to actually think about how much I want to drink. The Tims man showed me the largest size and it was so obviously too much (more horse trough than hot choc), so I saved myself a few pennies and went down a size or two. /SP

Pets-as-people is certainly nothing new; a trend that has continued to grow in terms of marketplace dollars, emotional engagement a product selection. Still, it’s astonishing to look at a wall of clothing that looks like t-shirts in a range of kids’ sizes and styles, and to realize that actually you are looking at a selection of “Pet Gear.” /SP

As I tried to write the contents of this bag (pumpkin squash curry coconut) onto the label I quickly found myself ranting about the poor design: How can you fit anything on this tiny label (e.g., “pump sq cur coc”)? Then my young designer self surfaced and I realized that, “No, in fact this is perfectly designed.” The available writing space is exactly aligned to the end of the copy above, the height is exactly the height of the Ziploc brand. Everything was in harmony! I can’t tell you how many times while in design school that I designed something most beautiful yet most unusable. Thankfully a super brilliant creative director showed me the way. Functional can be beautiful. If you make medicine bottles clearer or safety messages intriguing enough to read then you’ve done something as a designer. What can seem like the most banal and uninteresting design project is a challenge not many can rise to. Anyone can design for cool brands like Nike, Coke and Pepsi. But can you make Ziploc bag labels a thing of beauty? Or at the very least, give me some more room to write! /BT

“Members only?” Here’s how I imagine that signage came about
Store manager: Why do you think we’re not getting any business?
Clerk: Maybe people don’t know we’re open?
Store manager: But we’ve been open for weeks!
Clerk: But we don’t have any kind of sign or anything telling people we’re open,
Store manager: But, it’s a store…I mean…the door is open…lights are on…we’re in here!
Clerk: Yeah, but it’s kind of not official until you have one of those big signs up…
Store manager: Fine!
[later that day]
Customer: Finally! Been waiting for you to open so I can see how much membership costs. /BT

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Branding the Ideal Experience: Participatory Design Research Lecture and Workshop – Looks like this would've been fun and interesting: For this installment of the series design research expert and consultant JooYoung Oh will offer a lecture and workshop on the techniques of her industry. Participatory design research is a combination of psychology and design. It is about understanding people and their ideal experiences in order to inform and inspire design (of products, systems, environments, and brands). How do you know your brand will resonate with your target audience? JooYoung will discuss design research theory, and will present a hands-on exercise that will demonstrate methodologies for capturing the current and ideal experience. Come prepared to participate!
  • The Hipstery! Mystery T-Shirts – Liberating you from the burden of choice! – (via Springwise) – Similar to the Heaven's Dog "Freedom From Choice" cocktail we blogged about a few months back, here's another product that offers the experience of "surprise" with the reassurance of a semi-curated result.

Dynamic Crowd Wisdom

The latest edition of Rob Walker’s Consumed is about Threadless, a darling-of-the-blogosphere site that sells user-submitted/user-chosen t-shirt designs.

The voting system is straightforward: users rate each submission on a 0-to-5 scale and offer comments that range from the constructive to the unprintable. Still, some submissions never make it to the voting stage, usually because they ignore format rules, raise copyright issues or, sometimes, are simply “awful.” (Kalmikoff says that eliminating ugly designs before a vote is an infrequent but sometimes necessary measure to “protect the experience” of Threadless voters.) While most winners have scores of 2.6 or higher, one recent batch included a design with a score of 2.0. That’s because the final decision about which T’s actually get made and sold has always involved a bit of nonpublic number crunching. For example, Threadless looks at how many 0s and 5s a design gets; designs that inspire passionate disagreement often get printed because they tend to sell, Kalmikoff says.

Seems anything but straightforward! But that’s okay, I think it reveals several truths around wisdom of crowd stuff. Neat how the decision process is iterative and cumulative, as the community gets smarter and tries to game the system, and as Threadless gets smarter and tries to right the system. This sort of evolution is completely unacceptable in politics, say, but seems to be innovative when done by Threadless.

I love the blunt naivete of putting forward X choices and having people pick, and then the sophisticated noodling that comes out later as the community grows in sophisticate. It’s not unlike the elaborate hierarchy of individuals, monitoring, and other checks-and-balances created by Wikipedia, outlined by the NYT magazine last week. A simple idea and simple implementation becomes arcane and complex by inches. Is this entropy? Human nature? Evolution? Line extensions?


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