Monday, July 28, 2008

on: Icons

I love the new iPhone. A friend of mine just got one. It has a light saber in it that moves with the accelerometer. Are you kidding me? This may sound like a geeky toy, and it is, but what a toy! The iPhone is an icon, a veritible Renoir, or Monet, of product design. Icon is the perfect word, because an icon is something that is purely self referential. And here is why I love the iPhone so much: There is no logo on the front of the device.

The Instinct and the Dare are relying heavily on logo placement to distinguish their device. I'll 9 out of 10 people really couldn't tell you what each looked like. My mom just bought a Dare recently. She couldn't tell me what it was, only that it had a touch screen, "you know, like the iPhone."

If we spend more time on product design: really nailing our inputs, working out the bugs in the preproduction phase, and building iconic products, we wouldn't have to spend so much money on promotion. I realize that not every product is going to be a category changer, but the hell don't we try harder to create them. I mean really, would you rather have the ROKR or the RAZR project on your resume. Most of us aren't in the c suite where the real decisions get made. Try and make a difference where you are, with have what you have, the best you can. or, if you're at a company where management doesn't want to change the game, find one that is (they are out there). Or start it. They is less and less room in the world for the middle class. Like no other time in history. Read Tom Friedman's Lexus & the Olive Tree it you don't believe me, written 10 years ago, and many of his globalization predictions have come to pass with startiling accuracy.

Brands require more than clever icons to survive; they require iconic products. (ref: