We are getting to be pretty picky folks. In an attempt to differentiate ourselves, we are beginning to shun mainstream culture and turn our noses up at mass produced items. We don’t want what the Joneses have; we want what the Joneses DON’T have – something special, something uniquely ours.
Consumers are looking for ways to express their personalities through the products they buy. They want to add their fingerprint to an otherwise average item. Because of this, customization is becoming a popular trend. The trick is for companies to allow customers to influence some aspect of the design, but still maintain an overall standard, cost-effective, manufacturing process.
By now, most people are familiar with the fact that Nike and Converse allow consumers to choose color combinations for their footwear. What’s interesting today is not just how these companies have evolved their customization offerings, but how they have introduced new types of product lines that are giving customers the opportunity to hold the design reins.
One example is Designwall, makers of digitally printed wallpapers (www.designwall.nl). The company's wallpapers are beautiful, large scale, modern designs that look more like murals. When you place an order with Designwall, the company customizes the design of the wallpaper based on a customer's specifications, wall size, and window and door locations.
WeeHouse is another example of a company that incorporates its customers into the design process (alchemyarch.com). Designed and built by Alchemy Architects, weeHouses are modern, prefab, modular homes. Don’t let the “prefab” scare you. These houses are designed intelligently, with attention to detail and aesthetics. During the design process, customers can move walls, add stairs, change materials and combine multiple modules, all to make the weeHouse fit their specific wants and needs.
We are rapidly becoming a society that favors the niche market over the mass market, and we want personalized products, services, and experiences. We want to customize our lives.
© Dawn Rae Knoth 2007 (reprinted exclusively by SNEWS® with permission)
Dawn Rae Knoth is a Colorist & Surface Designer specializing in the Outdoor Industry. She provides clients with valuable market direction information allowing them to succeed as industry leaders. Her services include trend forecasting, color merchandising, and textile design. Crave, Dawn Rae’s free newsletter, highlights emerging trends and interesting products. For further information on Dawn Rae’s services or to receive the newsletter, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 541-389-2525. Visit www.dawnrae.com to view her work.