I was never a fan of coffee growing up. I couldn’t drink a cup unless it had a million spoons of sugar added to it (much to my dentists despair). So I gave up on that dream. It wasn’t until my first year of varsity, I had a HUGE 2D deadline the next day which counted like 1000% towards my end of year mark.
(oh, by the way – I tend to over exaggerate, apparently)
So what does a young, naive and moderately enthusiastic university student do when he gets handed a brief 2 weeks in advance? Well he leaves it to the night before, obviously! And that is exactly what I did. Not on purpose I might add, but because I was slightly distracted by the other 32 000 assignments I had been given. A 2 week brief? Well that feels like a life time away, so it got added to the “read later” archive in my mind. I finally came to the realization that this project was due the next day, not because I remembered but because the overachiever of the class (everyone has one) liked to bring their work in a day before to show the lecturer how perfect they were. Wow, I didn’t realize I could hold a grudge for so long. That night I prepared for the infamous all-nighter. I got all my tools ready and was determined to smash this project and hopefully fit in 2 hours of sleep.
The Brief: Make a large poster that spelled my name in a creative way and somehow make it look 3D.
C – I burned paper and sticks and stuck it in the shape of a C
O – I made a weird round pyramid structure out of string… Don’t ask
R – I tried to draw a Pirate in the shape of an R. The New Pirates of the Caribbean had just come out so I’m assuming that’s where I drew my inspiration from
B – I made a 3D honeycomb structure using hexagons to show the B (I was trying to impress the lecturers with my puns)
A – By this point I was already out of ideas so I ended up using the matches I used to burn the paper for letter C, finally
N – Super creative and original… coffee beans… yes, like what kids do with uncooked macaroni… yeah, I resorted to that
However, something magical happened as soon as I opened that bag of coffee beans. The smell hooked me immediately! I was already feeling like a zombie and it was only 1AM and so I decided to take the leap and give coffee a bash again. Sip after sip, my body started gaining energy, I felt… ALIVE! The only downfall was that I had that amazing coffee experience after I had already completed by project. If you are wondering, I didn’t get the best mark in the world and yes I did learn my lesson, but since that day I have been hooked on the glorious, caffeine bean.
OK! Time to bring this whole story back around and keep it design related. My girlfriend and I had just moved into our own little place in the Southern part of Cape Town with beautiful trees and a front row seat to Table Mountain. I could immediately envision us sitting outside, gazing at the view whilst drinking our coffee – and not just any coffee, we needed the best to kick start our mornings. My girlfriend shared the same dream of one day owning a Nespresso machine but we are currently saving for an extravagant trip to Europe so we thought we should put it on hold as responsible adults would do. Yeah, that didn’t work too well for me as the very next day I went on to buy a Nespresso machine.
Nespresso is the perfect representation of what design should be. They are not just a company that sells coffee and machines, but rather a brand that provides you with an experience. If you want to go and buy new pods, every step has been thought out to please the customer. The employees are well spoken, well dressed and more than happy to assist you. If you are curious about the taste of a certain flavor, the pod is already in the machine busy filling up the cup. Everything from branding, to packaging has been thought through which somehow makes you happy to spend some vasts amounts of money there… and believe me when I say vast amounts. But the point is, you can tell that Nespresso is a brand that have located their target market and are creating an experience more than a product. The actual machine in itself is iconic and timeless! I decided to make a wooden base and transparent pod holder just to put the cherry on top of our new house warming gift as well as to add a bit of myself into the experience when we make ourselves a cup of coffee every morning. Heck, it sounds like im trying to suck up and get free pods from Nespresso! NEVER! but here is the link to Nespresso just in case.
I think us, as designers should strive to create a Nespresso experience in everything we design, and I’m not just talking about product designers. Design is all around us in many shapes and forms. If designers were to focus on creating a better experience for the user how much better would everyday life be. Pay attention to the smallest detail, locate all the things that frustrate you and fix it. People are interactive – with themselves, with others and with things around them. This way of thinking will entice people to want what you have created without them even knowing it. But if that doesn’t work, just give them a coffee – that also seems to work about 160% of the time too.