Last week, Ikea announced its new living room concept Uppleva, their first dip into consumer electronics. But there’s a twist. Ikea tackles the age old dilema, “what do you do with all those damn cables?” Though not a revolutionary idea, it appears that Ikea is perfectly positioned not only from a cost perspective but an unconscious consumer need for seamlessness; an invisible relationship with technology.
Since the ’50s and ’60s designers have been trying to integrate TVs and other consumer electronics into furniture. In the 2003 parody ‘Down with Love’, there are many examples of these built in electronics that further accentuates the main characters’ 1960s playboy lifestyle. Unfortunately, just like the lifestyle, only a select few could afford such customized, expensive products. As a result when electronics became available in pieces, the seamless integration was de-prioritized. We learned to live with cable and wires from radios, video/dvd players, record/vhs/tape/cd players, computers, monitors, external drives, and the hardware of choice that let us connect to the internet.
Then (for me anyway) wireless devices changed the consumers relationship with technology. Technology started to integrate seamlessly with everyday life. The stacks of metal boxes in the home became smaller, untethered as technology became affordable, accessible, necessary. Consumers didn’t have to choose between power and size. At the same time the concept of an integrated lifestyle started to become popular again. Microsoft, over the years, produced it’s ‘Vision of the Future’ series that explores what a lifestyle where technology is seamless could look like. But, as the title suggests, it was still a peak at the future.
Last week Ikea closed that gap. At least in the living room. The success of Ikea’s new line is yet to be seen but, more than before, it seem it will have a chance to be tested by everyone, in real time. I’m sure this will spark shifts in many companies product pipeline. I for one won’t miss the dust bunnies that currently live in the wire-nests behind my TV. They will just have to hop along and find new homes elsewhere.
This isn’t really a rant against stock photography nor a critique on a particular style of book cover design — it’s just something I’ve been noticing. We all know the perils & pitfalls and yes, the advantages, of instant stock imagery but in the long run, perhaps it’s best to have your own unique, original imagery and if you can’t afford that then a really good designer. The same can be applied to brand building and the layers of meaning attached to a logo or a product. Visual positioning is essential for brands and, let’s be honest here, we do judge books by their covers, don’t we?
In most cases the image on the right is the most recent version. Thank to the internet for all sourced imagery.
Flipping the image — no one would notice, would they?
At least there was a little color adjustment going on here.
The transparent overlay of skyscraper and clouds really didn’t ‘cover’ this.
It’s all a bit grotty 70′s motel, but at least Peter Handke’s original story DID come out in 1974.
Adding illustration, flipping the image and increasing color saturation helps, but it’s not really new, is it? Even the titles are in the same place.
Apparently these two almost identical books came out barely a month apart.
Our office is located in Santa Monica, so I often have cause to drive along Lincoln Blvd, its main thoroughfare. I comment all the time on how run down and shabby so many of the storefronts are. The paint is peeling off, neon signs are only half lit; stores, inside and out, are a cluttered mess. I wonder why the building/business owners don’t seem to care to make their place of business more appealing to the passerby. I’m sure it all comes down to cost, especially “in this economy”, but shouldn’t the curb appeal of your business equate to more money for your business and therefore the whole reason why you should spend more?
An article published by yellowpages.com states:
“Your storefront can make or break your business. It’s a form of advertising, as well as the beginning of the customer experience. You can have the perfect location but waste it if your storefront and building looks shabby and dated or if customers fail to notice it. Retail curb appeal is more than just creating an aesthetically pleasing storefront. Retail curb appeal is about making people want to come inside and buy. If you are a retailer, your store is your brand. Effectively attending to your storefront and building, then, is one of the most important branding steps you can take. The storefront sends the world a message about your business and its personality.”
Making people want to come inside and buy. Enhancing curb appeal. Sounds like what we do for our clients.