Design for the long tail
In Cooperation with
Darryl Feldman / DaWanda http://dawanda.com/
Fab Lab Berlin http://www.fablab-berlin.org/
RWTH Aachen http://hci.rwth-aachen.de/fablab
This Project located in the Product Design department but we encourage students from other faculties to join us!
What are we going to design?
We will focus on designing Products that can be made with digital fabrication tools such as 3D Printers, Lasercutters, CNC Machines etc. There will be two categories:
1.) Low-cost open source machines. The goal is to democratize the means for digital fabrication. We are going to build and redesign a 3D Scanner and an addon-camera for a lasercutter, both developed by RWTH Aachen.
2.) Products like accessoires, toys, jewellery etc. that can be sold online. Students don't need to have skills in 3D modeling or 3D printing to join this project. We want to encourage working in teams / cooperations that enable anyone to create and fabricate digital objects.
What is Fab Lab?
A Fab Lab is a Digital Fabrication workshop, similar to the prototyping facilities in Weißensee, that facilitates cooperations between its users. Our project group will be a Fab Lab in the sense that we want to encourage participants to cooperate in order to enable anyone to create content and learn the skills along the way.
What is the long tail?
"The theory of the Long Tail is that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of "hits" (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail. As the costs of production and distribution fall, especially online, there is now less need to lump products and consumers into one-size-fits-all containers. In an era without the constraints of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution, narrowly-targeted goods and services can be as economically attractive as mainstream fare.“
from http://www.longtail.com, full essay here:
This theory applies mainly to products that already are completely digitized and can be accessed with the ubiquitous personal computers, like music, books and games.
But as digital fabrication technologies (e.g. 3D-Printing, Lasercutting or CNC-machining, electronics) become more affordable and easier to use, the same dynamic is going to apply for more and more physical hardware products as well.
What is Digital Fabrication?
The long tail theory applies mainly to products that already are completely digitized and can be accessed with the ubiquitous personal computer, like music, books and games.
But as digital fabrication technologies (e.g. 3D-Printing, Lasercutting or CNC-machining) become more affordable and easier to use, the same dynamic is going to apply for more and more physical hardware products as well.
Product designers will not only design mass-producable products in the future. A growing percentage of things will be shipped digitally and produced locally and on demand. This project is about understanding the opportunities and challenges for new products and services that arise from these changes.
We will focus on designing Products that can be fabricated digitally. In addition to the design, the goal of the project is to develop strategies for selling these products. The simplest solution is to make and ship everything yourself, but by doing this the designer will be increasingly absorbed with handling these logistics.
On the other hand there are already many services that offer to outsource everything from marketing to production, shipping, billing and quality management.
Finding the best marketing and production strategies is as important as the design itself. The aim of this project is to achieve both.