At the time of their market launch they were a minor sensation: For many years, over fifty percent of all promotional writing instruments had “frosted” surfaces. The designer of these “frosted” surfaces has now also created the new QS models from Prodir.
Their three-dimensional surfaces define the new “Personalisation 2.0”. A talk with Christoph Schnug from Studio C in Milan.
Mr. Schnug, why are surfaces so important? Christoph Schnug: What we touch, touches us. The haptic experience is a wonderful experiential zone that is often neglected. Surfaces are anything, only not superficial, and have a long after-effect. And since touch presupposes closeness, it is the decisive sense when it’s all about confidence.
Today, numerous brands have set up labs with the aim of improving the haptic-tactile experience of their products. In addition to the digital revolution, the area of tactiles is undergoing somewhat of an upheaval. Especially in sectors where many manufacturers in the market are scrambling for solutions, haptic often decides the purchasing decision. The automotive industry is increasingly relying on tactile impulses in the design of the interior surfaces. The feel of the steering wheel is becoming just as decisive for the brand perception as the full sound of the closing door. It is the sensory dimension that counts. It’s no coincidence that we were able to realise our ideas through collaboration with a company which specialised in the development of surfaces for the automotive industry.
What is the core concept behind the idea? Surfaces create an important connection between people and products. And Prodir is a brand-customer-connector. We worked out a concept that enables customers to communicate what is special about their brand through the surface of a writing instrument. Haptically and visually. That’s the new dimension of personalisation which we call “Personalisation 2.0”.
What is that in concrete terms? In a first step, we developed two motifs for the new QS product range. A decorative, faceted triangular-structure for the QS01, which feels very velvety, almost organic. And a very striking, slightly sculptural 3D-surface for the QS20. One never seems to tire of touching it and looking at it. Personally, I am particularly fascinated by the play of light on these pens. They appear to be alive, shades and nuances appear, not just a single tone. There’s never been anything like it on the writing instrument market – and that makes the products so interesting for communication. Besides the QS01 and QS20 models, the writing instrument can be individually personalised with patterns or textures. In this way, a sensorially coherent brand communication can be fashioned down to the finished writing instrument.
Does this then change the writing experience as well? The QS20 offers just the right grip position for every individual type of writing. It invites the fingers to try it out and to discover. For me, it’s the most ergonomic pen that exists.
Beyond this, what characterises the design of the QS models? In addition to the form of the barrel and its surface, we wanted to design a clip with a classic look. The profile of the clip reveals the almost iconographic form of a curved clip. The writing instruments all have the attributes of Prodir’s DNA. As with the DS8 and DS9, the colour range has remained for the most part focussed on the essential: There are the standards like dark blue, white, black and grey, as well as a fantastic new red, a fresh vivid green and other current trend colours. Classic and contemporary, lively and versatile, like the pen itself.
Do you think that here too we will experience a minor revolution like with the frosted surfaces? That’s something the people will decide when they use these pens to write and promote with.
Thank you for the talk Mr. Schnug.
Christoph Schnug (50) is a product and graphic designer and the owner of Studio C in Milan. For Prodir he has designed, in addition to the company’s visual appearance and communication elements, the models DS1, DS2, DS5, DS7, DS8 and DS9, among other things. Numerous communication and production design works by Christoph Schnug have been honoured with international awards.