Once upon a time not so long ago, artists and inventors would flock to great cities such as Paris, London, Munich and Vienna, seeking rich patrons of the arts willing to support up-and-coming penniless creative geniuses. Nowadays, everyone from celebrity moviemakers to eccentric inventors flocks to crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter.
The medium may have changed over the centuries, but the things that attracts patrons and motivates them to open up their wallets still remains the same – Creative genius supported by an innate talent for design. Perhaps it can be better explained by looking at a selection of trending design campaigns on Kickstarter this week.
The five campaigns examined below are completely different in terms of their functionality, usage and targeted buyers. But they do all have one thing in common – a quirky or stylish design that tells backers this is something different. It looks like a winner and makes people want to own a piece of it.
As of Sept 30, 2013, with 23 more days left, this delightfully simple marshmallow toy with ears has racked up almost 350 backers who have together pledged in excess of $16,400. Ubooly’s target for a successful campaign is $25,000, to be raised by Oct 23.
Why would so many people put up thousands of dollars for a toy? That’s because it combines a cute and plump marshmallow with round eyes and a smartypants expression with enough brains to enable wireless updates to its programs. The toy will be a living cartoon which has jumped out of a television set to accompany your child through new adventures, games, stories, jokes and a lot more every day.
The same story here, with 750 backers having pledged more than $94,000 with 36 more days to go. Instead of children, this one is meant for people with pets. Instead of being impossibly cute itself, it makes you want to use it to play with your impossibly cute pet. You love your pet, and your pet is entranced by the mysterious Petcube that sounds like it has you inside and emits lasers for it to play with.
It’s a simple and clean design which is stylish as well as versatile in that it allows you to see and talk to your pet and play with it using a smart phone app, regardless of where you are.
As of date, these dorky and smart little robot friends have managed to get 1,291 backers to pledge $112,625 CAD, with 11 days still left. What’s the deal? You put a bunch of them in a room and these talking heads can actually have a conversation by sending and receiving infrared light. Ambient light sensors and LED lights make up their eyes. Each one has a mic as its ears, and speakers for its mouth. It even has touch-sensitive hair. Its brain is a 32K microcontroller which is compatible with Arduino, so robot enthusiasts can hook it up with other parts to create a full robot.
Again, what makes it stand out is that electronic components have been put together in a way that creates not just AI, but also an imaginative design which makes it look almost human, rather than just a bunch of parts imitating human behavior.
This one is a done deal, with 302 backers who helped the creator get past the target amount of £20,000. In fact, they raised a total of £22,511. The concept of a solar charger for your smart phones and tablets is nothing new. What is different here is the design of the charger. It’s shaped like a tree, with a wooden trunk and the solar panels up top for leaves.
Actually, it looks more like a sci-fi mushroom, but the point stands – it’s a unique design that looks good as part of your desktop décor, while being environmentally friendly and useful as a travel companion for charging your devices while you’re on the road. Need we say more?
With 16 days still to go, Everdock has secured 2,587 backers who have together pledged $232,942 – that’s just shy of five times the target amount of $50,000. Again, this dock for your smart phones and tablets is nothing new, because there are plenty of docks of all kinds available. What’s different is that the creators have designed it after an exhaustive amount of research that makes Everdock compatible with just about any combination of smartphones and tablets available in the market today.
You can buy any smartphone and tablet from any company or companies, and they’ll fit together snugly on the sleek and stylish aluminum dock. The creators didn’t have much room to show their creativity, but turned it into the best possible design for a dock simply by making it a universal dock and providing optimum functionality.