This is my seen

22
juillet
2009
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Some days ago Seen was in my city. Icon of New York graffiti scene, « the guy who tagged the Hollywood sign” was the spearhead of a movement that fit around the world. Seeing the crowd gathered in front of the shop and people bringing him some object to sign, I thought that artists can be a link between a product and its personalization. An extra soul that brands can use to differentiate and add artistic surplus value to their products. A win-win couple between brands and artists structured following 3 methods interesting to observe …


A pair of ballerina, a cap, a skate, a jacket signed by Seen not the same emotional (or financial) value that the standard product.
Products personalized by Seen during shows

The brands that mass-produced can thus call for designers to promote their products. Different methods are possible:

1 – In the form of a contest where brand rewards best customization of its product by involving the visitor through a vote.
Advantage for the brand:
- The fact that the event and brand awareness by attracting traffic.
Advantage for the designer:
- It is rewarded and financially involved in the success of the product.
- The competition is open to more creative and can discover and bring forward new talent.

2 – A second possibility is to use the image and the existing popularity of an artist, he has built itself over time, most often in the streets (street art) and viral (social media), to apply to its products.
The best known example being that OBEY GIANT force putting up posters with strong graphic universe, has established its reputation worldwide as its creator Shepard Fairey has transformed himself (with funding) in a multinational brand clothes.
OBEY : from street-art to branding

In France, the artist fafi is a fine example of urban visual identification which has made a very strong artistic surplus value to brands as popular Adidas or WESC:
Fafi personalization for Wesc headphone

Fafi personnalisation for Adidas Sneaker

The cosmetics brand MAC up to create a complete line of products and custom models like the famous urban characters.
Fafi personalization for MAC cosmetics

The advantage of this method is obviously the financial terms of volume licensing involved, but may also allow some form of democratic practices of street-art and designs.

3-The third method of collaboration is the opportunity for sellers to play the role of « curator » by providing its expertise and analysis of graphic designers to select the most talented « avant-garde » or interesting in terms of creation. This is the case of Arkitip site that offers a wide selection of products customized by designers or studios recognized in graphics arts industry.

 KRINK Sleeve Curated by Arkitip

KRINK Sleeve Curated by Arkitip

The advantage of this approach is the reflection made by an intermediary to determine consistency between the image of a « trend » product and its quality of customization by a designer recognized by his peers and sources of inspiration for the community. This strong relationship between the brand and the artist is presented in a series of videos where these designers describe and explain their creative process they bring to their designs.
Here an interview of the founder of the creative studio HunterGatherer explaining how his fascination for woodworking has inspired its creation of skins for iPhone and laptop covers produced by Incase:

HunterGatherer from Arkitip on Vimeo.

HunterGatherer signature products: the MacBook Sleeve and iPhone Slider Case.

HunterGatherer signature products: the MacBook Sleeve and iPhone Slider Case.

I love this method that equally enhance product and highlight the value of the creative process in a fair value. I will detail in this type of collaboration in my future posts, seeking the perfect match between trendy products, but standards, and recognized artists in their recovery but not enough widely… your inputs and comments will be welcome …

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