Differentiation, it’s what makes us want one thing over another. It sounds so simple, yet why do so many companies, so many business leaders, so many marketing and product development people fail to recognize this. Instead of pandering to the masses and trying to produce something that “everyone will like”, but no one will notice, more companies need to start taking risks and investing in differentiation through design and stand out. Good design, the kind founded in function and delivered through beauty of form can be that differentiation. It’s my opinion that if design is allowed to drive through functional improvements and aesthetic reward, whether it be industrial, interior, fashion or architectural that it will elicit a reaction from everyone—good or bad, and what matters is that either reaction means that it did not go unnoticed. SO I’ve decided to make it a point in 2010 to try and feature products and projects from companies who have entrusted their companies and products future in the competent hands of a design professional, and allowed them to take a risk and create some differentiation.
My first entry will be the reinvention of a classic, the Screwpull by Le Creuset. A faithfully effective classic corkscrew opener that had been on the marked for years decided that it needed a little differentiation. The Le Creuset turned to Ireland based industrial design firm Design Partners with the challenge of redesigning their classic corkscrew to appeal to the growing crowd of wine enthusiasts. Design Partners wanted to first perfect the mechanism (and did so with the introduction of the Acitv-ball feature), and then make the form into an iconic element—something that people would proudly display as an elegant part of the wine drinking experience. As you may have guessed since the launch of the new product sales are up.