Over the weekend I finally got around to snapping photos of the home and office products I designed for Shinola. Shout outs to the team at Astro Studios and the work we've done together. These were among the last few products I lead and directed before joining Playground. I'll post those soon.
Shinola is one of those brands that has a very distinctive design language due to their history with watches. As a designers this is an advantage, the advantage is you've got some of your work cut out for you. Aesthetic mood boards, colors, materials and finishes can be drawn from their watches. But, now you're stuck applying just a skin job. You're not innovating, not creating something brand new, you're just applying an existing look onto their future products. It almost reminds me of those college assignments where you're tasked to choose a brand and study it, then apply it's aesthetics onto some consumer electronic, like a toaster. For a project like this, I think If you're mimicking every detail like you're plagiarizing is a mistake. One thing I learned from working with Shinola is how invaluable it is to be a versatile designer. Cheesy reference, but what an environment is to a chameleon, should be what every project is to the designer. You adapt but it's never the same environment twice. The design goal to embrace their rich history, but pivot just enough to retain characteristics of the brand and show them what the future may look like.
It was challenging for David and I to adapt our personal style to the outlets. Aesthetically I'm more of the hard-lines, machined surfaces, and future tech kinda guy. So naturally you can see how Shinola's soft, classic american heritage styling can be an a tough creative problem. It's the complete opposite of what I'm used to. Laser crisp edges now abandoned for round bubbly details. I think the design turned out quite successful. Staying true to my style I kept the edges and part breaks tights but introduced soft edges and a pillowed top as a hommiage to the past. Here are photos of the final products, you can pick them up at a Shinola store near you.