How Lady Gaga Designed Polaroid's Grey Label Camera Glasses [Pics, Video]

Of the many labels pegged to Lady Gaga--pop star, fashion icon, provocateur--here's one title you might not expect to see on her résumé: creative director at Polaroid. The "Bad Romance" superstar teamed with the camera and eyeware company this time last year, and at the Consumer Electronics Show on Thursday, we finally got to see the fruits of this unlikely collaboration.

As part of a new suite of products called Grey Label, Gaga and Polaroid unveiled a digital camera with a throwback design and, most impressively, a set of camera sunglasses with two embedded 1.5" LCD displays. The glasses (pictured) act as a wearable camera, and can snap pictures, be pre-loaded with slideshows and video, and are meant to enable real-time photo sharing.

To develop the products, Gaga worked closely with Polaroid and design firm Ammunition LLC, known for developing the popular Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. Here's how that collaboration played out.

"She is fairly involved with the process," explains Robert Brunner, creative director of Ammunition, who says the pop star would brainstorm ideas, participate in meetings, and provide feedback on models and designs. "She takes it very personally--she really feels this stuff is a representation of her. She has ideas coming from her ethos and perspective. So how do we turn that into a strong viable product design?"

Nothing is more Gaga-esque than the camera sunglasses, with their hyperbolic design and "almost goggle-ish" lens. The camera sits atop the bridge of your nose while the displays land just below your line of sight--yes, you can still see with the sunglasses on. "With the effect of the oversize lens, they look to the person on the otherside like your eyes," says Brunner. "That really came from Gaga--from her video for 'Poker Face,' with the glasses that say 'pop culture.' She wanted to build that into a product."

Brunner's team went through several early models before landing on the right design:

"We went through a lot of development," says Brunner. "We tried to determine the best way to do create a product that was actually accessible to people."

The sunglasses are not the only product Gaga unveiled Thursday. Also showcased as part of Grey Label was a new Polaroid camera that is a throwback to its iconic designs of yore--a camera that brings to mind a time before the company's infamous failed transition to the digital age.

Despite its look, the camera is digital--all of 12 megapixels--and brings together features that we used to love from Polaroid products: instant image printing with Zero Ink's technology. But don't think this is a company stuck trying to relive its glory days. This camera design has undergone a major overhaul, and now features a sleek underside with large LCD display that swivels. No word yet on pricing for either of the products, which Polaroid said would be out "later this year."   

"So much time has gone by that to a lot of younger people, Polaroid doesn't have meaning like it does for those who remember it from its heyday," says Brunner. "But that equity is still there--and we're developing a whole series of products to help them reclaim that territory."

With this latest round of products and branding from Lady Gaga, we'd say Polaroid is on its way to being The Fame Monster.

Flip through portraits of Polaroid's past and future, from Edwin Land to Lady Gaga and beyond!

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7 Comments

  • Dan Fonseca

    Wow! Now this is something I can see becoming a club hit. Think college parties and concerts with these incredibly creative eyewear, fantastic! However, I am sure that idea that the younger generation is simply obsessed with their own identify will definitely will be fed with this new fashion. I personally think its pretty incredible though.

    Thoughts?

    -Dan

    www.danfonseca.wordpress.com
    www.twitter.com/whoisdanfonsec...

  • Edubble Intrubble

    I bought a Polaroid camcorder off of woot about a year ago for really cheap. For the price, a really great product. This last christmas, my tweenager wanted a digital camera. 14MP for $60 was a great deal, too. I have the dell zink printer and that's also solid. I hope this niche product (the camera glasses) brings exposure to everything else they have to offer.

  • Chris Reich

    It would be wonderful to see Lady Gaga save Polaroid---I would like to see her go next to RCA and develop a television that is different from the other "look alikes"! Maybe we could have a TV made in USA again?!!!

    Lady Gaga is the ultimate marketing instructor. Pay attention class.

    Chris Reich
    www.TeachU.com

  • Scott Byorum

    Zack! You should be making stacks of cash and getting your feet licked by beautiful women!

    I like some of Lady Gaga's songs, but I can't stand her...

  • Zachary Milburn

    OK so I made some of these that work a while back but seems like they were a lot less complicated to make...and they also look more like the video glasses than these ones do!! If someone tried to design them a little better I think they would beat these ones.

    I put them on a video here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...