How I designed a novelty flash drive

novelty flash drive ….

Hello, this post covers the steps, thoughts, and processes that went into creating a novelty flash drive. These flash drives have graced the shelves of Boots, Tesco’s and other international high-street retailers and to think, it all started as a happy accident (almost).

Stage 1 – The product concept

The initial drawings and images weren’t created to be flash drives – they were going to be characters as part of a marketing theme that would feature on email signatures, brochures, trade stands, and other collateral – not flash drives.

Rat animation gif
Hello!

These darker characters were created to be the opposite of the Satzuma Man which was a glowing orange character which looks like a happy marshmallow. He was the ‘goody’ so to speak.

Rufus rat
Rufus 1,2,3!

As time evolved, so did the roles and priorities of the characters. It was discussed that these characters should be turned into something else, why not a product?

Not the first attempt at creating a product

This wasn’t the first time at making a novelty product – I should be ashamed to say that the first ever character to be created was the Satzuma Man… as Elvis. He looked more like Carlton Banks from the Fresh Prince and he was a pretty terrible version at that. I’m happy to say that this design is lost to eternity, never to grace your screens.

The Original Character Art – Pre-Production

The Flash drive models were based on my designs and illustrations. Although, if I was to be brutally honest… I was never keen on the stuck-on googly-eyes. It added a bit of humour but made the product feel a cheap-looking in my opinion.

Notice the early “Rufus” was a bit more moronic looking and mean? This was because he was supposed to be a villain to the Satzuma Man, you weren’t supposed to like the gormless rodent that meddled with the products and machines in the gadget factory! As time went on, more love was given to Rufus both commercially and conceptually and he became the “goody” with this, his features softened and he became cute – for a factory rodent.

Early Rufus Rat Design
Melvin Mutt
Hello Melvin – Product Concept

Stage 2) 3D Modelling

Once I created the 2d designs of the characters, the brief and reference images were sent to a factory to start creating the prototype. The rat and the dog was made up in a 3D program which was then sent back to us for approval. After this, the factory got down to creating the tooling.

Stage 3 ) The Product

It’s alive! Once the factory had made and completed the prototypes based on my specifications. The product was then produced in bulk, packaged and shipped out to the large high-street retailers. Melvin, Rufus and the flash housing are all copyright Satzuma LTD.

Melvin Flash Drive - Dog
Dog 2
Dog 3
Little rat

If you have any questions with regards to the project or any other project feel free to get in touch. If you are looking at creating a model, miniature or a product I may be able to offer assistance.

You may be interested in reading :
How to make a successful game
My creative journey
How we to design a killer kickstarter page

How to make a product for your business

Developing a product for your business isn’t a small undertaking… but it can be a very rewarding if you do it right! This post has been written to share useful experiences for creating a product. In order to create a product you will should consider certain key aspects of its design:

  • Who is the product for?
  • Is there a market for product?
  • Is there a need for the product?
  • How much will it cost to create the product?
  • How will you market the product?
  • Where will you to make your the product.
  • Time frame for product design

The questions above cover a couple strong questions when creating or launching a product.

Tips for creating or designing a product
Tips for creating or designing a product

Also this post will cover what you shouldn’t do when developing a awesome new product. Enjoy!

My experience in creating physical products

In the early stages of my career I would never have imagined that I would have been involved in designing and launching physical products, it has been a journey that has both been challenging and exciting! Speaking creatively, designing a product opens up whole new road for innovative exploration – you just need to remember to put the breaks on every once in a while and assess why and what you are making.

My experience mostly covers designing products that are made from card and PET. I have also been involved in creating physical card/board games, developing learning products (STEM) and Flash Memory (injection moulding) and last but not least, the retail packaging that houses product.

Who is the product for? (It’s not you)

When you create a product, it shouldn’t be a product for you. This may sound counter intuitive but you need go beyond a gut-feeling if you really want to push the success of a product. One mistake I have often found is assuming that everybody else is a bit like me to a lesser and greater extent – this couldn’t have been further from truth. Not everyone is you.

Do you represent a demographic that would buy your product?

It can be good start if this is the case but try to get some idea who would buy your product through looking at information online with trends, forums, statistics and if you have the money and resources, surveys and product testing. These early stages will help to decipher whether there is viability in your product. Don’t leave it to chance.

Make your product about your customer, make it something they would love, solve a problem, entertain. It will be them that buys a the product in the end – not you.

Product Validation

A very good way for a businesses to get a product validation is by testing the waters on a crowdfunding platform such as Kickstarter or IndieGogo. If you are going to do a Kickstarter, make sure you have a crowd and an audience ready on the launch day. This is not a mandatory way to validate a product, but it does show if there could be a demand for your product.

If you would like help with your Kickstarter design you can read more on this post.

Is there a market for your product?

Assuming that you may or may not have gone down the crowdfunding root for your trailblazing new gadget or product do you have any evidence that the world ‘needs’ or would like your gadget or product?

A good way to check is to see whether other companies are selling something similar – I know, I know – you want to create something SO unique that you would have made Tesla shed a solitary tear but creating something without knowing if there will be demand can be a huge financial risk, and you could end up selling something that the world does not want or need.

It is a crushing feeling

if your product can’t get of the starter blocks when you have invested so much time and money into your passion. Make sure you do your homework first and maybe consider the – paragraph above “Product validation”.

Who knows, perhaps after creating your first few products you will be in place to show the world what you offer is better than what they want.

Show the world what you have to offer...
Show the world what you have to offer…

Great women inventors

Keep the cost down to create your product (*MVP)

If you are a creative or a student reading this post, you are probably going to hate this point. For your product to be commercially successful, somebody will need to be able to buy it! I know, who would have imagined!

Unless you are creating a product for wealthy people with large disposable incomes you will need consider if the man or the woman on the street can afford what you are trying to sell them. That will generally come back to keeping that initial manufacturing cost down.

As business owner or Start-Up

This may sound like familiar territory to you. The lower the set up cost, the better the margin or the cheaper you can sell your product and it have a wider market appeal. A lower RRP will make your product more accessible to a larger buying market with shallower pockets.

The type of product, brand or businesses you want to be is down to you. It will come down to you how much you believe the customer is willing to pay for your product and be brutally honest the the prices. This may influence whether you do mass production, batch or stay with smaller scale cottage industry production. The choice is yours!

How much does it cost to make a product?

It can cost anything from 10p a unit to £1000’s of pounds for a large mass produced run, it comes down to the materials, where you have your product made, speed and many other smaller factors.

Costing and pricing is a crucial stage to the success of your product. Below are a few factors which you should take into consideration when pricing the development of your product :-

  1. How many units will you make

    Generally the more units you manufacture, the lower the unit cost is in larger quantities.

  2. Where it is manufactured

    It is common to find products which are manufactured over seas. This is common in manufacturing as it is generally cheaper to manufacture products. You may find businesses based around the UK or the United States that offer competitive rates, but it may require more research and digging around.

  3. Packaging

    Depending on the level and complexity of packaging this can affect the cost of your product per unit. Having too much packaging could be costly and frowned upon by a modern and more eco conscious market.

  4. Transport and unit weight and size

    The weight and size of your product will affect the unit cost of your product.

  5. Other languages

    If you are intending on creating a product that will be sold globally, you may wish to consider having translations added to the retail box. It can be inexpensive for translations to be created and worth considering as it will open up a much larger audience to your product. Certain retailers will want it as a requirement.

  6. Barcodes

    If you are intending to sell your product to high-street retailers you will need a product Barcode. I wasn’t involved in the process of creating product barcode in the past, but as far as I am aware it is relatively cheap.

  7. Instructions

    Large retailers will expect instructions as a basic requirement for your product if it something like a piece of electrical equipment, a gadget, a game, a tool and item with moving parts. Instructions can be made cheaply, but they need to be made ‘properly’.

  8. Other Admin and legal areas

    Your product may need testing for chemicals and toxic substances to meet with trading standards. These requirements differ from country to country and isn’t something I can advise on. I can only mention that you should be aware of it is best to seek professional advise.

* it should also be noted that Brexit ‘may’ have an affect on goods being imported and exported in and out the EU.

Marketing Your Product – A very important step

This step should not be scrimped on but is often is. It is a waste time and money putting all of your effort into creating product that the world cannot see. Don’t rely on blind faith and hope that consumers looking to a buy a product will stumble of yours. You will need to be proactive and there are actions you can take with a short or non-existent budget.

Invest your time, energy and planning into some good marketing and if you cant invest money, research low-cost or free marketing ideas.

But remember, free is rarely free. Time is still a cost also and if you can avoid doing it all yourself I would advise looking for help.

https://www.shopify.co.uk/blog/how-to-market-a-product

Shout out Marketing
Shout out Marketing

The marketing of your product can cover a large area; from the branding to the packaging to the website. 1 idea for marketing your product could be to consider crowdfunding – if this fits your business model.

A method for getting your product out there

a) Make a good product
b) Create awesome packaging
c) Present the whole package.

Show your cool packaging to a buyer and let the large retailer do the heavy promotional lifting and display your product. I have seen this method work time and time again but you need to master your pitch.

Other Notes on creating your product

There isn’t a guarantee.

I feel this should be added, not every single product you develop or make will rip it into success. Although, I hope that this article may guide you and help you steer clear of any pitfalls in the early stages. I think many inventors make many products and prototypes before they blow it out of the water. Eventually they find that eureka! And so will you if you if you have right skills, knowledge and attitude.

IF you found this article helpful free free to link to, share or show friend.

‘Do Not’ for developing a product.

– Don’t rely solely on your gut when creating a product. Try to do some research and understand your target demographic

– Developing products for the tech market can be volatile – especially if you are making products which are accessories for a model of (which ever product) Creating something for the latest release lasts as long as the that model does. You either have to move quickly or end up with a warehouse full of products you cant sell.

– Don t assume that customers only look at pictures on packaging, they do read the details on the back of the packaging, and if something is a little bit off – they will email you to let you know.

* Minimum Viable Product Quick Answer : What does it mean?

If your manager or boss has just mentioned the term MVP this stands for ‘minimum viable product’. A minimum viable product is just that, a product that is still worthy of being sold but is stripped back to the bare essentials.

E.g a car with 5 wheels, bike rack, rear view camera, fine leather interior, sky television etc

MVP version = 4 wheels, plastic interior, simple functional car (Save money in other words)

Maybe you’d like to read : How to create a game in steps >
Or Develop packaging

If you have any questions feel free to contact me through my website >

Packaging Projects | high street retail ready design

It has been while since posting a project update, as many of the other posts have covered industry insights and experiences.

One of core project that appears to get a lot of attention is the post on how we created a successful game project. A post that is packed full of information on our design approach and what we did.

This Design Post

This post covers a range of packaging designs that were used and are still actively being used in the retail market – a phrase that was used often when creating the packing was “retail ready”.

These designs range from Tech Girl, Satzuma Gifting, Stem and a whole range of projects and pre-production artwork. These products have graced the shelves of Boots, Tesco’s TK Maxx, Robert Dyas, Menkind, Staples and stores across the globe.

Unicorn Power Bank

Unicorn Power bank packaging
Yes… yes it is a Unicorn. And a Power Bank
Idesign for Smartphones, retail
Packaging and branding design for a ‘build your own Smartphone cover’ product

You can read more on the project on the portfolio website. It covers the branding, the packaging, the marketing and the digital design.

Proof Of Concept Packaging

The proof of concept packaging was used for design approval, used in product pitches to large retailers and also used to ‘visualise’ the package for print factories.

Beard Bib Packaging
Early Beard Bib Packaging, This was put together very quickly to get a feel for the concept.
Packaging design
Packaging illustration
Packaging design for game
Boogie Pong Game Box Mock Up
Packaging design - mock up
Another Tech Girl Mock Up – Typography would be ‘Rose Gold’
Jeantech Power Supply
Mock up / Render of a power supply box
Flash Memory Top - FSDU
Flash Memory Top – FSDU – Final Proof
Neon Packaging concept
Neon Packaging – Product – Testing look and feel

Packaging Nets

The images below show the flat nets of the packaging. This is the print ready or near print ready artwork that is generally sent of production after approval.

Early Joystick Design
Early Joystick design – Packaging – Card + PET – Concept (shelved)
Flat net of am expansion pack
Card box net for packaging an expansion pack.

This is one part of a larger gaming project, if you would like to read more this product please feel free. Or if you would help with you card or game design feel have a look.

Net for a VR Google Card
Google Card Design
AR Blaster Packaging
AR Blaster Packaging Net
Stem Product | Build You Own Robot
Stem Product | Build You Own Robot
Beard Bib Dev
Beard Bib Dev

Final Products & ‘In Situ’ Shots

These are the completed products based on the designs I supplied.

Memory Capture Box & Product Design
Memory Capture Box & Product Design
Head phones packaging
Head phones packaging
Counter Display for Product
Counter Display for Product – VR Goggles
Packaging design - neon sign
Make your own Neon Sign
Joystick
Joystick Packaging
Joystick Packaging
Flash Drives 8 GB - in store photo!
POS design inside a retail store.

That’s all on this packaging post!

Retail Read Packaging

If you would like any assistance in your latest packaging design be it the concept or putting together a punchy, relevant and cost effective solution feel free to get in touch or have a look at projects on the brochure website.

Retail Ready Packaging Projects – Perhaps you’d like to read :