The Fast Company Innovation by Design Awards has awarded The Shinola Runwell Turntable an Honorable Mention in the "Products Category." I'm proud to be a part of one of the few products awarded that cannot be described as "smart." In working with Shinola, it was our goal to introduce innovation by re-thinking set expectations of a particular category. Specifically, The Runwell Turntable was designed as a warm furniture piece or accessory for the home rather than a piece of audio equipment.
A few months back Concept Kicks asked me to write on the topic of "Courage." It was open ended and gave me an opportunity to try to verbalize something I had been thinking about for a while. Given where I'm at in my career journey, I thought it would be a great time to share. Thanks again to Brett Golliff and Mr. Bailey for including me in the conversation. Check out the article below or listen to read it with the introduction directly at Concept Kicks.
Courage is getting started and continuing forward. It’s inevitable that each project carries specific challenges that can lead to moments of self doubt and present opportunities to give up.
When briefed a project, I almost immediately have a vision of what the final “thing” should look like, but all that’s in front of me is a blank page. The empty space is terrifying, and most often, the first visualizations do not align with the image I’ve rendered in my imagination. It’s frustrating as it’s right there in my mind, but I’m unable to communicate it to myself. There is no formula to get me there, or guarantee I’ll find a path I’m passionate about. I can only rely on the foundation I’ve built over years and invest hours, days, or even weeks in following the process and “doing the work.”
At a micro level, this same fear can be applied to each phase of a project or exercise within a phase. Applying details, choosing color and material, or creating communication assets are all unknowns that have to be faced head on. Leaving works undefined and ultimately unfinished has been my crutch to keep them to myself, safe from criticism.
Sharing work can be even more terrifying than beginning a project. What if people don’t like it? Even worse, what if the people that matter to me most don’t like it? A product or idea that lives in the world can be critiqued. It’s either “good” or “bad.” Only you know the compromises made with manufacturing, or the compromises made with clients. You can’t say, “but the intent was better.” All you have is what’s there, sitting on the table. It’s a vulnerable feeling to leave an object on its own unable to stand up for its worth.
For me, these fears are the driving force. I obsess over details so the “thing” that lives is a “thing” I believe in. I want to people to love what I’ve contributed to the culture, and I believe it’s my responsibility to make it happen.
As an industrial designer, the IDEA Awards have always been the standard. At Astro, we've been so proud of the work we've done for Shinola, and it feels great to be rewarded a Bronze IDEA Award for both the Shinola Power Supply Collection and The Runwell Turntable.
Core77 has always been a huge influence on the industrial design community. Before sharing on instagram, I relied on Core77's articles and community message boards for a deeper look into the world of ID. This year with Astro Studios and the team at Shinola, I received my first Core77 award for the Shinola Power Supply Collection.
Via Core77, "Recognizing excellence in all areas of design enterprise, the Core77 Design Awards celebrates the richness of the design profession and the brilliance of its practitioners.
The Shinola Power Supply Collection was awarded a "Notable" for the Consumer Product Category which is described as Core77 as, "Final products designed specifically for individual use across a variety of enviornments and purposes, including but not limited to home, work, leisure, sporting, health and hygiene. Examples include: electronics, accessories, soft goods, housewares and appliances, personal care, tabletop, etc."
It feels great to be recognized with such a nice range of product. More on the 2017 Core77 Awards here, and check out the Consumer Product Awards page to vote for the Shinola Power Supply Collection as the Community Choice Price winner!
This past fall, Prolitec launched Aera. I led the industrial design and we were dedicated to bringing a warm approach to a consumer electronic product that was designed to live in the home. Recently, Aera has shown up on many design inspiration sites and most importantly as a part of Stylus' report titled, "CMF Industry View: Personal Electronics."
The report's overview highlighted four key criteria that directly relate to our design goals for the program. Those criteria are copied form the Stylus report below.
SOFT TECH AESTHETICS: The emergence of softened shapes and forms suggests a gentler tech aesthetic is emerging. Curved Edges and rounded corners are tempering tech's harsh black, white and bright tones.
INCLUSIVE INTERFACES: Designers are finding ways of making tech more inclusive. For example, Dot has introduced the braille smartwatch, which features a transforming textured surface that visually impaired wearers can respond to.
DESIGNED FOR DISPLAY: Next-generation products feature designer collaborations or tactile materials that appeal to the design-conscious consumer. Directional tech products are more akin to home and fashion accessories than conventional electronics.
COLOUR INVESTMENT: Mobile phone companies are investing in new vivid pigments - indicating a need in the market for more expressive finishes that cater to customers looking for more individual technology.
Aera appears in good company with products such as the Plume Wifi Pods by Branch, Yves Behar's ElliQ Robot, B&O's Beopaly H4 Headphones, and Leica's TL Camera.
Together, the collection of examples highlight the report's "Discreet Metallics" section which is described below.
"A subtle metallic direction is emerging, with the brushed and pearlised finished that first noted at IFA Berlin 2015 becoming warmer and more neutral in tone. Muted metallics enable personal electronics to blend more discreetly into everyday surroundings.
Last week I shared Press the Runwell Turntable received on billboards and on the web. This week I documented some of the press the Runwell Turntable received in print. Each piece of print was special as it had a personal story of discovery.
A good friend is a subscriber The New York Times and immediately shared his excitement when he saw the feature this past Black Friday. My dad is a long time subscriber of The Wall Street Journal and shared that feature. For the past few years, my mom has been saving and sending copies of WSJ Magazine, so to see it featured there next to a photo of fashion icon Iris Apfel was incredible. Finally, I receive mail from Neiman Marcus and was surprised to see the Runwell Turntable in The Christmas Book this past winter.
The Runwell Turntable has been everywhere, and I'm so proud of the visibility it's received. Below are some shots of the Runwell Turntable as it appears on billboards in San Francisco and New York City.
I've also taken screenshots of The Runwell Turntable as featured on the web. It's been highlighted in many different channels spanning streetwear, fashion, design, business, technology, audio file, and even regional news sites. Check out Hypebeast, Highsnobiety, GQ, Design Milk, forbes, WIRED, analog planet, and the Detroit News for a closer look.
The Shinola + GE Collaboration could not have been possible without the capabilities of Byrne Electric of Grand Rapids / Lakeview, Michigan. I'm so excited about the products and proud of our role in the collaboration.
You can read more of Shinola's beautifully written blog post here. I've attached a few of my favorite images below.
And be sure to shop the collection here, the products are selling fast!
The work I've done with Astrostudios continues to roll out. I previewed the Runwell Wall Clock and Power Collection as it was a part of their "The Bolt is Black Collection" for Black Friday. But now the full collection is available. The Runwell Wall Clock comes in all black, silver and black, silver and white, and silver and navy while each pieces of the power collection are available in Cream, Bold Orange, and Black.