Have You Heard of This Design Challenge?
You’ve probably seen their products, near the checkout lanes at bookstores, in museum gift shops and specialty home stores. From old school games and quirky desktop items to useful tools and tech items, these products are not to be considered tchotchkes.
The brand is Kikkerland, and their array of products combine form and function, and are aimed to delight! The company is constantly innovating and creating new products that suit their core brand values. Putting design at the forefront, there is an opportunity to submit design ideas for their in-house team to review, as well as their very own design challenge.
The Design Challenge
Young designers throw it down at these challenges to come up with the next innovative Kikkerland products. The first challenge started in 2009 in Philadelphia and has since taken place in China, Korea, Netherlands and Mexico.
Designers submit products based on concepts, like the international challenges that are meant to showcase items that reflect their culture. The most recent event back in May posed the challenge of creating something in the stationary, desktop or office category that would perform in the bookstore environment.
The products are judged not only on how well they embody Kikkerland’s premise of being useful and joyful but originality, marketability and merchandising are all considered. The top designs from each challenge are often developed for production by Kikkerland!
We could spend so much time looking at the products from all the different design challenges, but instead we rounded up some of our favourites.
Fold Key Ring Bag
From the most recent Central Saint Martins challenge that took place this May we have the fold key ring bag. Not only does this product create two solutions in one, but it comes at a good time given the anti-plastic movements. Reusable bags are the best alternative to plastic bags, yet so easy to misplace or forget. This product can transform into a backpack, shopping bag or shoulder bag - and you’ll never forget it because your keys will be attached!
From the same challenge. This product gives the look and feel of a homemade mug that you would make at a ceramic shop and gift to your mom, hence the name mom mug. This product also comes in an ashtray and teacup form and is accompanied with a ceramic pen so you can personalize it.
Jiang-Shang Tea set
As part of 2014’s China design challenge this tea set is meant to reflect the old Chinese story of Jiang Tiagong. He used straight fish hooks because of his belief that fish would come to him when they’re ready. This tea set allows Jiang Tiagong to patiently hold your tea bag for you while it steeps. This product is a perfect example of combining design and culture.
From the 2013 Korea design challenge this dog shaped flashlight is based on a Korean folklore. Once again, this pairs design and culture to create a fun and functional product!
Bedside Table Holster
In 2015 the Kikkerland design challenged teamed up with Bed Bath and Beyond to create household solutions. This versatile tablet/book holder can be folded or flattened to fit anywhere along your bed.
These are great examples of how design can be used to solve problems, and look great. Kikkerland is a brand that aims to combine fun and functionality, which helps differentiate it from a product you’d want to throw away. If you want to dive deeper into more of the challenges, you can see them here.
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