As technology pushes forward and sometimes it is easy for us to forget about the past. I think marketers and product designers could benefit more from looking to the past. I am not ready to claim that many of the classic design whether it is product or interfaces will stand the test of being both functional and timeless, but I can comfortably say that many brands/ products /interfaces carry a lot of sentimental value for many people. And many of these deign will not only survive this lifetime and well into the next generation.
For me, I am at a stage where the best objects or brands or products are the ones that connect me with my childhood and memories of my time with my Dad when I was a little boy. I have been collecting these objects since a while back and they seem to contain a bit of my past. I guess as we age we will become more receptive to marketers and designers who make use of what market researchers call "a longing for positive memories from the past."
The science of nostalgia isn't yet fully understood, but studies have shown nostalgic cues that can be exploited and the ways in which images from the past can yield favorable attitudes about products in the present. Ask our team of resident anthropologists and they can explain why.
The best examples would be my McIntosh amplifiers, JBL studio monitors and Leica cameras. I couldn’t really accord these (not the top end models) when I was 14 and my dad ended up buying me the entry models. I remember the joy when we bought a pair of giant speakers and we struggled to carry that home. It seems the objects I love most around the house are those that reminds me of him. He once said to me “You're the most wonderful boy in the world, and doesn’t matter what you choose to do you will do it well. And you can do anything you want to.”
I’ve heard the saying “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it” and I am not sure who said that. That’s kind of what I feel when I look at stuff around me. I have a thing for McIntosh (picture above my living room) and have quite a few of them lying around everywhere, I think I have at least 3,000 watts of pure clean power to feed to my JBLs. These pretty "Big Blue Meter" McIntoshes are more than sound machine, the classic design and the physical knobs are part of a very simple user experience. I am sick of remote control and I can’t even use them other than power on and off. It brings me the question why machine + usability + style can come in such a nice package then and we hardly see many today (Apple is the exception).
A nice surprise for me is now I can download a McIntosh app for my iPad (picute above). It is very smart idea, not that the app will upgrade the sound from my iTunes, but the skins with the big blue VU meter brings moments of joy even when I am not in front of my McIntosh. Now I can listen to and playback music from my iPad within the classic McIntosh experience. I can now access to my digital music library in a simple elegant interface inspired by the line of McIntosh audio equipment. Genius idea!! And it is free too!!
A great brand/product and even interface if stylistically design and adding some nostalgia touches can power up a wave of innovation that has strong emotive connections. With more and more people entering the boomers lifestage, expect to see collectable toys inspired nostalgia factor. The essence of these brands is very appealing and emotive; something that people grew up with. It is more than Lanvin porcelain dolls and Prada toy keyrings, it is time to visit eBay.