Objectified, the movie

Objectified, the movie

Paul Rand's cigar box

For the benefit of those of us who are not diehard design nutters, the cigar tin above was created by the man who defined IBM’s entire visual language and created the iconic IBM logo. He did loads of other stuff as well (of course) but this is one of his weirder efforts.

This is an attempt to work the meaning native to a product experience (that in the 1950s a way of sharing the joy of a baby’s arrival was to share cigars) into the product design itself. If you can park your horror at seeing a baby on a tobacco product for a second, you can appreciate the boldness and insanity of the experiment.

Another interesting thing about this effort is that it points to how important context of use is (in many cases I believe this is a more important and more useful tool than market segmentation). One of the reasons men shared cigars is that they were excluded from the birth itself.

I’ve compared the experience of my first child’s birth with my Dad’s experience of my own birth. While I was alone in the room (for two minutes) with Nicki pushing and watching the crown of CLF’s head showing, my Dad was alone in his car wondering what it all meant.

As the context of our experiences changes, so does the experience of the products and services we allow into our lives. In the future, I hope we will be working closely with others in the business to create product narratives that will allow us to work much more closely with our customers (and sell a whole load more tellies).

I’m just about to download the film Objectified and if it’s half as good as his other work Helvetica I expect it’ll be an inspiration to anyone who makes a living out of asking people to buy stuff.