What’s the story…
Design Dice are a tool to help the creative process – to aid design thinking, idea generation & problem-solving. They are the result of over 25 years of experience as a graphic designer & lecturer, and have grown out of a deep belief in the value of encouraging creativity in others.
The main idea is simple. The dice work when you need a change in direction, are feeling stuck, or want to take a lateral leap in your thinking. You roll one (or more) of the dice – which offers a key-word ‘prompt’, and invites a series of creative responses, encouraging breadth and depth to your thinking. Every word is ‘interpreted’ by you in the light of the project you are working on, so the meaning of each suggestion changes due to the context. Even though there are a ‘fixed’ number of words, there are arguably an infinite number of combinations.
The resulting dice have been tested over the past three years with undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate designers from a range of creative disciplines (not just graphic design), and are now ready for production – save for the funding, and that’s where you come in!
Any support you can offer would hugely welcome, and as a way of saying ‘thanks’ there are a number of rewards that range from the KickStarter ‘warm-fuzzy’ favourite, to a limited-edition-personalised-hardwood-set.
Reward #4; Design Dice ‘Bronze’ set (above).
The full Design Dice production set, in a custom-made foil-blocked box.
This is what we’re working towards...
Reward #6; Design Dice ‘Gold’ set (above).
The full Design Dice production set & box, with a limited-edition, custom-made hardwood desk stand.
Reward #3; Design Dice ‘White’ promo-dice (above).
Limited edition ‘white’ promotional dice (comes with original bumper sticker).
This is a mock-up of the final item.
I ended up working in teaching through a deeply rooted belief in championing other people’s gifts and abilities – particularly when it comes to encouraging their creativity. Over the past decade, I’ve become increasingly interested in ‘how’ we design, and have run workshops that explore different process models and ways of working. The Design Dice project has been part of my journey exploring how the complexity of various creative processes can be made more accessible – particularly to students of design.
Teaching is, I believe, most powerful when learning becomes internalised. If something is done simply because I told you so, then it only ever travels so deep. However, if a framework is created that forces you to think and apply ideas for yourself, you own that process and it becomes rooted at a more fundamental level. The dice are based in this latter model, and, if the feedback-to-date is anything to go by, are certainly moving in the right direction.
My hope is that the dice will become part of learning experiences for many current and future designers, contributing not only to their individual growth and development, but also benefitting the world within which they design.
Obviously, with lots of Graphic Designers (undergraduate & postgraduate), but I’ve also worked with graduate Photographers, Illustrators, Writers, Product Designers and Musicians.
Next steps & funding…
If the KickStarter is successful and hits the target, the support & funding will be used as follows;
KickStarter as a network.
Arguably as important as the funding that KickStarter is commonly known for, the launch itself will become the first ‘big’ marketing campaign – of which you are a central part. Sharing the project with friends & family and watching the story spread is worth its weight in gold for sure!
Pump-priming the production of the first batch of dice.
The bulk of the target will go towards producing the first batch of 500 sets of dice. Beyond providing some of the rewards for your support, the main order will go on to sell at the full commercial price – enabling the project to (hopefully) become self-sustaining over the following year.
Development of an online sales tool.
Web-based shop to promote and ultimately sell the production set world-wide. Design & build of the site, and first set of fees.
There’s a huge world of student & graduate designers out there. Connecting with them and sharing the story & benefits of the dice as a creative tool is the next step. Physical and digital promotion.
Beyond my concerns of having created what appears to be a huge (albeit necessary) target, the idea of extending my thoughts of funding beyond this seems nothing short of ridiculous. That said, if the target is exceeded, it brings some interesting options into play;
Digital Printing vs Screen Printing.
Initial costs are using a digital printing process. Once the production numbers start going up, there is a tipping point where the small-run digital option eventually matches, and then is overtaken by, a screenprinting option. Sadly, the screen costs are prohibitive at the small-run end (where I’m starting), but become cost effective once we start hitting over one thousand sets, and means the long-term production costs drop by almost 50% in a relatively short time. I’d need to almost double my target to do this, but you never know!
Everything thus far has been a labour-of-love, filling evenings, weekends, bike journeys to work, and the early hour’s ‘couldn’t-sleep-again’ moments. Having seen Marketing Specialists put the right Ad, in just the right spot, at just the right time, or use clever social campaigns in a really smart way is proof enough that bringing in the experts will definitely be worth the time. It just needs the money! Target-and-a-half for this one!
Part of the original development for the project included fairly detailed sketches for a mobile App-version of the physical dice. I shelved the progress part-way through – largely due to costs, but the original hope was also to make a creative tool that took us away from screens rather than encourage us spend more time with them. One of the most consistent pieces of feedback during the testing phases from both the UK & Europe was for an App to complement the dice, so it’s back on the table. Triple the target and we might be getting there!
Risks and challenges
The current combination of words, colours and themes is as close to ‘functionally right’ as is possible (if there ever is such a thing as ‘right’!). The production itself is relatively low-risk; the dice manufacturer is one of the leading producers in the UK, and the packaging supplier is a specialist family-based business with over ninety years experience in the industry.
The current schedule is aiming for production over Summer 2017, with delivery sometime during September 2017. There are obvious risks with any production process – particularly regarding timescales, which are at the mercy of supply-chains, seasonal trends and quality control. The main risk revolves around delays at various stages of the production process and could have a knock-on regarding delivery.
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