Secrets Behind New Gift Designs

19 April 2016

Christina first begins to tell us that the initial idea for a new design stems from her thoughts on what she would like to say or give to a friend. 

Q: When does the thought process start for you when beginning to design new products? 
CG: Sometimes I am just walking around or I go and see an exhibition - do things that inspire you - a lot of the time it's just about trying to get your brain to disengage so you can let ideas come in... I tend to sketch ideas into my sketchbook or think of how products lead on from one to the next to create a deeper collection. It tends to start with the shape... 

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We haven't launched these yet, but working out the shape so they rock softly was really good fun.  We tried lots of different sizes, of which many just rocked one way and fell over! We also designed some tongue in cheek tokens "all about life balance" with the token rocking around! We haven't launched them yet either.... we always have stacks of ideas which is fortunate!


Q: What do you think is the most important part of designing products? 
CG: The concept... and when you think you are done, attention to detail.  Making sure it's the best it can be is paramount to your idea being successful.

Q: How do you recognize a good idea from a bad idea when designing a new product? 
CG: When people react enthusiastically, it makes you feel like you've hit on something good - listening is so important when designing new products too. We once launched a miniature token that we still laugh about.  It was one of our first wedding favours called, "Miniature Token Ball & Chain", we thought it was a really funny tongue in cheek wedding favour... but it didn't sell! Definitely not a good idea. If anyone wants them... !

Q: What are the stages in developing a concept to final product design? 
CG: From start to finish it's about the concept, idea, what is the purpose of it, is it functional or purely a beautiful unique expression that appeals... playing with the size, scale and graphics, sampling the ideas, dealing with the production economics along with working on pricing and value structure while the most important part of all.... does it appeal to other people (not just me haha) ?

Q: What stage do you enjoy most? 
CG: Visualizing a piece and seeing it complete and packaged.... (oooh and appreciated....) all of it!

Q: What is the most exciting thing for you in launching new product designs? 
CG: When you get involved in a new project there is a point when the momentum snowballs and everything starts to just fly... 

Q: You are currently creating a new project for a customer. How have you gone about producing the designs?

A client of ours, Gifts Direct 2 U, wanted to extend Spaceform in to different countries, Spain, Germany, Italy and France through Amazon and asked us to create an exclusive collection for them.

The brief was 5 sayings to go on to our miniature glass tokens, including, "thank you", "happy anniversary", "friends for life", "happy birthday" and "congratulations", and then we went about our work.

We have core token designs like different colourful flowers with no text on, or bunting, or colourful stars, or our red heart or daisies...  and so it makes it fun to come up with different ideas for engraving on various already made Spaceform Tokens that have these beautiful colour illustrations on them.

These are some of our core pieces...

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We engrave the final designs on our laser machine in our studio.  The important part at this point is being really sensitive about the graphics.   It's a brilliant way to offer a customer exclusive designs as the process is super fast.

We made a few pictures of the design stages. 

The first ideas for the Spanish tokens were these, which I then made notes and decided which ones to shortlist and what to amend before we showed our client.  We do this service for free for top retail clients as the good fortune comes through a range doing well.  The client only has to commit to buying four of each design they go for.


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The initial artwork for the French tokens...


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First Stages of Italian Tokens...


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and the German Tokens...

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Then we go on to the next stage having re-worked the ideas together, and make a shortlist so the customer can select what they want. 

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and then the best bit, the sampling starts... 

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Its a really direct and organized process which is what I always first loved about sandblasting, (the way we deep etch on to glass) and hand painting, and produces some really wonderful and unique results.

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work in progress...

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Here are the finished pieces from the French collection...


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You can look out for these on the Gifts Direct 2 U website on Amazon if you want to send a special something in a different language...  They should be up and running soon.


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