Impulse buys traffic in the feeling of being alluring. They are eye-catching, often tiny, and generally nonessential–though they pretend to be essential. So when tasked by Areaware with creating an “impulse buy,” Carlos Ng took these qualities into consideration and came up with a sleek, colorful “architect’s tool set.” His was the winning design.
The magnetic tools, which include rulers and protractors in bright green, sky blue, and varieties of orange, are puzzle-like pieces that can be taken apart and reassembled to create new tools. For example, you can turn the protractor into a full-circle shape instead of its usual semicircular design, and you can extend or shorten the rulers.
This impulse-buy challenge, called Small Things Matter, was a collaboration between Areaware, a design-based gift company in Brooklyn, and students at Parsons The New School for Design. Areaware asked students in the third-year product design course to design an object that would fit into Areaware’s existing line for a sub $30-price point. “Students have a fresh sense of design and are an essential part of the process,” Areaware founder, Noel Wiggins, says of the partnership.
In addition to making their items “impulsive,” the students were also asked to conceptually link their design to a charity organization that somehow relates to their object. The collective goal was to encourage designs that, with intelligence and utility, subvert the negative connotations of consumerist, “impulse buy” purchases. The charity organization will get a portion of the profits from the item’s sale after Areaware puts them in production.
All of the designs from the Small Things Matter studio will be on display at WantedDesign today.