Previously, we've talked about taking a concept, developing it and then delivering the final idea after a Kickstarter campaign. This week, we'll be taking a look at the process of getting an idea off the ground, navigating the issues that arise, figuring out who it is for and ultimately saying yay or nay to an idea, even at the eleventh hour.
You get attached to your ideas. One of the most difficult parts of being a design firm is admitting 'this isn't going to work' over a concept that you love. This proximity is probably responsible for killing a lot of products and maybe some companies altogether.
As you can see above, the sheer number of iterations that exist for each product before a final design is realised can be pretty high. What you can see there is the development of the Orion pendant. Now, take that process and apply it to thirty new products. How many of those made it into production? Three.
Our grand plan for the summer was this: launch a huge new range of Lockstone products, simultaneously in one big Kickstarter campaign. Sounds straight forward, right? Why not put everything out there at once so that people can pick what they like? Well, it wasn't that simple.
Coherence. That was a big obstacle. How do you run a big campaign with such a variety of designs? They all stem from the Lockstone range but how do you bring out a range of wooden bracelets with a focus on natural materials and sustainability while at the same time release a new range of industrial-inspired jewellery that flies in the face of nature? There probably is a way but we couldn't circle that square.
We'd designed a vast new selection of bracelets, pendants, cufflinks, earrings and new concepts that didn't exist before this campaign. We figured that a sixty day campaign would give twelve days to each range. We would stagger the marketing to focus on a different range every twelve days so all five would get equal footing, all while being interchanged with decent enough juxtaposition so that anything similar wasn't being overly pushy or familiar with anyone who saw it. Easy.
No. Look at the size of that paragraph. Nothing was straightforward and the focus began to slip. Perhaps we got a bit obsessed with bringing this behemoth to life.
So where were we going wrong? The ideas were good as best we could tell, the quality of the prototypes was high and we felt we'd got good reasoning and materiel together for the marketing.
I suppose we had to answer 'who is this for?' and perhaps we'd taken our audience for granted somewhat. Even if we could answer that question, could we consistently answer it over sixty days with such a wide range of products? How were people going to react if the campaign shifted focus nearly every two weeks? Should we bring out all the designs at the beginning of the campaign or stagger them throughout?
Should we have been asking this many questions just before we wanted to launch?
The answer is: no.
Things needed to be simpler. We should focus on one idea, one range that really captured people's imaginations.
We decided to shelve almost every other design we had created for the campaign in favour of putting forward Nightfall. Out of all the designs, Nightfall stood out as having the strongest reaction amongst people. So, with a heavy heart, we cut the other four ranges and focused solely on Nightfall.
With around a month before we had to launch, we kicked Nightfall into overdrive. We had a strong reaction to it on Facebook and we had the sort of response we were looking for.
In the end, we want people to love our designs as much as we do and enjoy using them. There isn't much else to it. Perhaps in the future some of the other designs will resurface, redeveloped in some way or refocused elsewhere. But if there's one thing to be taken away from the development of Nightfall, it's that there's always more to learn when it comes to product design.
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