25 days to go & initial target reached!!!
Huge thanks to everyone who’s invested in the project so far. It was an amazing moment to check in and find that we’d hit, and then exceeded the target. I’m due to be having early production conversations in the next few days, with a view to completed sets being ready in late September 2017.
The initial target was based on producing the Dice using state-of-the-art digital printing techniques as a short-run. Once the production numbers start going up, there is a tipping point where the screenprinting option eventually becomes comparable to, and then betters the digital option. 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 be looking at getting close to double my original target (£9000 approx) to do this, but we have nothing to lose!
The back 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 single ‘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.
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 Autumn 2017, with delivery sometime during September/October 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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