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Character Development | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Character Development

Originally uploaded by Michael Surtees

Originally uploaded by Michael Surtees.

Originally uploaded by Michael Surtees.

Having a story behind a product is nothing new. Try imagining Nike without “Just do it”. What’s new to me is a simple story that has turned a pair of jeans, a bag of coffee and a pair of shoes into a story worth talking about. Within this script, each of these products are worthy characters. They’ve got a lot of quality behind them, from great design to nice materials. What becomes apparent quickly is the story by the character’s. They’re willing to tell you how special they are, but not in an infomercial kind of way. The method of delivery is subtle and inspirational, sometimes through divinity even. The jeans use the washing tag to encourage best results by living in them, “Vaya con Dios”. Within the packaging of the coffee, I learn how rare the beans are, and how there was no washing stations working just a couple years ago in Rwanda. A letter and a small packet came enclosed with the pair of shoes I want to talk about. Within the letter is an eight paragraph epic about “A little information to help you get the most enjoyment out of your shoes”. It’s an extremely well crafted message, and by the end of the story we know why we need the little packet.

What I’ve left out should be as interesting as what I’ve described. I haven’t mentioned any brand-names nor the design of the logo. Two of the three items are names you’re probably not familiar with. The coffee comes from that Seattle. The jeans and shoes are great example of showing how “attention needs to be earned not bought” philosophy. The Starbucks Black Apron Exclusives packaging is just a great example of design. For those companies that don’t have huge budgets to communicate their message, a simple tag or letter should be enough inspiration to show how you can turn nothing into something.

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