So far, Curio has developed in a lot of great ways. The mind map and the inspiration board were pivotal tools for project with such character. Writing a whole bunch of words that surround a concept sometimes garners the real core of a brand. I like to call that core the “mother ship.” It gives it a sense that the brand is invading, it isn’t just one spark in a dark sky, it’s a hive of ideas that are all expressions or reflections of central spirit. The mother ship for Curio, as it is with all brands, can’t and really shouldn’t be summed up in one word. I do, however, like the alliteration of a subline for their products: “Gifts, Gadgets and Gear.” Gifts is first, and as the company evolves its identity, I can see them putting a lot of effort into the packaging and the delivery of those packages as items of affection. Presents. But not the kind of ribboned parcel with a banal sweater inside, something a bit more mysterious.
I keep coming back to the MoMA store, filled with well-designed products and fashionable staples. Sometimes I pick up things in that store and it takes me a few moments to understand what it is I’m actually holding. Other times I am presented with a standard for what the product is, but I know there is something unique about the design, because I’m standing in the MoMA store. Curio enjoys the enlightenment of a customer when they realize what they’re holding is a trivet, but it looks like a bicycle chain. Or when they’re clearly holding a radio, but their surprise when they learn that the radio is made out of bamboo and is powered by kinetic energy.
Auto Boxes by Andrew Haythornthwaite
What I don’t see Curio as is like Brookstone, filled with personal massagers and foot baths. Sure these are gadgets, but they’re indulgent and don’t inspire discovery or perspective. That’s not to say they may not have a massager on their product list, specifically, but if they do, it would have a dimension to it that stands it apart. That, and there’s so much leather in Brookstone. Curio is less luxurious; they’re stainless steel, wood and neoprene.
Boxes. That’s the things I’ve been working with so far in the design process. Boxes contain things, they are gifts, but they also have the spirit of dimension and working parts. I’m reminded of a jack-in-the-box toy, or kimiki puzzles—a sense of surprise or dimension that serve less purpose than just that. That may not follow along the notion of utility as many of their products focus on, but laughter and toys are purpose enough as some objects too.
Another concept I’m flirting with is an illusional space application of dimensional typography. As in, it looks like it could exist in three dimensions, but the perspective or space is incorrect. I have some great logo examples I want to share, but I’m off for vacation for a bit, and will gather those when I get back. For now, these sketches will marinate in my head while I go sit by a river.