Ideas for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

How Motiv Helped Finally Light Bulb Change the Way People See the World Around Them

Posted by Bill Sterling

Finally was founded on the notion that people should not have to sacrifice light quality for energy efficiency and long life. Based on this belief, CEO and Founder, John Goscha, set out on a mission to elevate the standard of energy efficient lighting. He assembled a team to modernized Tesla’s original technology and successfully developed a new light bulb that is changing the industry. Motiv is proud to have played a role in bringing that bulb to market.

Thermacell Scores a Triple Play for Radius Zone!

Posted by Paul Metaxatos

Kudos to our client, Thermacell, for their 3 well-deserved marketplace recognitions for its Radius Zone Insect Repeller. The product gained glowing endorsements from these highly regarded sources:

Popular Mechanics gave Radius its Editor’s Choice Awardat the Outdoor Retailer Summer Show.

New York Times Wirecutter recognized Radius as “The Best Mosquito Control Gear for Your Patio or Yard.”

Outside Magazine included Radius as part of its “The Best Car Camping Gear of 2018” feature.

The Thermacell Radius Zone creates a 110-square-foot mosquito-free zone around a campsite or back yard, using low-level heat to vaporize a natural chrysanthemum-based repellent. Powered by a lithium ion battery that lasts six hours per charge, Radius is scent-free, compact and travel friendly.

Motiv’s Summertime Boston Harbor Tea Party

Posted by Bill Sterling

Here are a few un-retouched photos straight from the Motiv Scrapbook, from our 2018 Staff Outing last week: a 3-hour evening cruise around Boston Harbor on The Majestic, a luxury party boat at least four times the size of the ill-fated S.S. Minnow. It was smooth sailing all the way, but we told the Skipper to stay within swimming distance from the shore…just in case.

Our 2018 outing was quite a step up from Motiv’s summer “backyard” parties held in prior years…complete with fancy long dresses, lobster sliders and gazpacho shooters. And despite having the entire boat to ourselves, everyone stuck pretty close together…either because of the camaraderie, or our proximity to the bar.

Either way, it was great fun to socialize outside of the office. The evening ended with a bang: we witnessed the USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”) firing its cannon, a tradition that’s been performed at sunset for more than 200 years. Plans are already in the works for Motiv’s 2019 outing, and office rumors are that it might involve a SpaceX trip around the moon. Stay tuned.



How Motiv Helped Coravin Change the Way the World Serves, Sells and Enjoys Wine

Posted by Paul Metaxatos

Coravin was founded by Greg Lambrecht, a medical device inventor and executive with a passion for wine and innovative technology. Greg was inspired to bring those two worlds together to create a product that allowed him to enjoy glasses of wine without committing to the whole bottle. Motiv helped Greg commercialize the Coravin System, so that Greg could share his transformational product with wine enthusiasts, restaurants, wine stores and wineries around the world.

HOW Design Live 2018 Boston Conference Highlights

Posted by Bill Sterling

HOW Design Live Conference seeks to connect the Boston design community, to provide inspiration from industry icons, to teach new design techniques, and to enable like-minded creatives to network and share ideas.

The 2018 program featured nearly 100 sessions focused on design and creativity; branding and packaging; tools and resources; as well as career advancement. There were 12 keynote sessions featuring design industry thought leaders, focused on a broad range of issues. Spark sessions, between the keynotes, were short, high-energy discussions covering more narrow topics or specific case studies.

Here are some of the Conference highlights:

Joy Bauer and Thomas Wilder (COLLINS)
Design Makes Us Hungry
Using inspiring places to influence design. When launching their health-conscious food brand “Nourish,” Wilder pulled inspiration to influence the packaging from the circus, a favorite childhood event. All creatives should seek to pull inspiration from not only competitors, but also form best-in-class in markets that are unrelated to their own.

Simon Endres (Red Antler)
Opening Up New Experiences
How can we build a design that doesn’t require the package to work as hard? I was impressed by the innovation and design solutions behind the Allbirds shoe packaging. The company has successfully created sustainable packaging that’s effective in two very different environments: as direct-to-consumer packaging and on-shelf packaging.

Bill Gardner (Gardner Design)
A Complete Look at the Upcoming Year in Logo Trends: The Good the Bad and the WTF
Bill Gardner’s fantastic “Run to the edge of the map” presentation showcased the full range of  logo categories: from nostalgic design – such as the Stranger Things logo – to this year’s current popular design box, the parallelogram. At Motiv, we seek to provide clients with branding solutions that will remain relevant for many years, and also push the design boundaries to “edge of the map,” so that they will stand apart from competitors.

Stefen Mumaw (First Person)
Designing Emotion: How to Use Design to Move People
When thinking about emotion in terms of your brand, there are three key questions to address: 1. What emotion do I want to elicit? 2. What triggers these same emotions in the “real life” of my target audience? 3. How does my brand fit address the first two questions? Emotion is an important, and often overlooked aspect of package design. For example, when designing a baby product, it’s important to invoke the mother’s emotion through the primary display panel of the package.

Joey Cofone (Baron Fig)
F*ck Design
Cofone’s provocative presentation sought to motivate designers to be confident in their work. For inspiration, he cited the Ray Bradbury quote, “Jump off cliffs and build your wings on the way down,” from the novel Fahrenheit 451.

The 2018 National Hardware Show: Our 10 Miles of Observations

Posted by Bill Sterling

Over the past 75 years, The National Hardware Show has been a great way to remain up-to-date on the hardware and home improvement industry; to gain a first-hand perspective on new product and consumer trends.

To stay connected with the industry and connect with clients, Motiv typically attends this show each year, and 2018 was no exception. Here are some of our observations, based on walking what seemed to be at least 10 miles of the Las Vegas Convention Center, where the Show was held:

Show Attendance – Perhaps it was the cavernous convention center, and notwithstanding the show’s claim of “20,000+ professionals,” it appeared to us (and others) that attendance was down this year. There are several reasons for the decline. Increasingly, for example, companies are using the internet to showcase and promote their products, and taking a hard look at the costs and ROI associated with trade show participation. For new companies, however, these shows can be a great way to build brand awareness and establish relationships with retailers.

Industry Consolidation– Perhaps the most significant change we witnessed at the show involves the industry’s ongoing consolidation of brands, on a domestic and global basis. The brand portfolio of Black & Decker (now Stanley Black & Decker), for example, now includes more than 20 other established brands such as DeWalt, Craftsman, Bostitch, Sonitrol, Irwin and Porter Cable. We anticipate that private equity firms and foreign companies will continue to acquire and sell hardware brands, driven in large measure by new Chinese manufacturers in this vertical, that have rapidly improved their product quality and marketing sophistication.

Electrification– Automotive is not the only industry that’s replacing fossil fuel engines with re-chargeable electric motors. Notably, yard maintenance equipment – for commercial as well as home applications – are now being “electrified” to reduce operating costs, and improve air quality and noise pollution levels. Significant improvements in battery-based technology – thanks to car companies such as Tesla, GM and Toyota – are benefitting heavy-duty power equipment manufacturers and driving significant product innovation. Although the performance characteristics of cordless electric yard appliances are on a par with their gas-fueled competitors, their costs remain higher by that gap is closing.

The Color Orange– Although we’re doubtful this trend is based on the popularity of the “Orange is the New Black” series on Netflix, we saw the color orange everywhere we looked at the show. Orange has long been a common color for power tools, both for safety and to help users keep them from getting lost, but now we’re seeing the color applied to a much broader range of products.

Blowing Off Steam– In the “home improvement” category, we’re noticing that consumers are increasingly interested in creating interior and exterior environments that better enable them to simply relax, and blow off steam. Perhaps it’s the nation’s overheated political climate, or a just desire to return to their carefree, younger years…but people are looking for no-frills comfort and manufacturers are responding. Here’s an example (photo above): a back-yard patio set, based on a Margaritaville™ / Parrothead theme, that Motiv recently designed for our client Rio. It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, and consumer demand for this fun outdoor furniture appears to be growing.

Grass Roots Innovation– There’s always a healthy representation of new products at the Hardware Show, and this year was no exception. What’s a bit different, however, is that most of the industry innovation appears to be driven by tradespeople: the carpenters, plumbers, contractors, electricians who’ve earned a first-hand understanding of their respected trades, and are seeking entrepreneurial success by building a better or more innovative product solution. Some of the ideas we saw had high potential, while others were whacky, with little chance of gaining market traction. Either way, this grass roots level of enthusiasm and risk-taking is what fuels growth in any industry. It was one of the most encouraging signs we saw at this year’s show.

Industry Today Magazine features Motiv’s POV on Smart Package Design in the Amazon Age

Posted by Bill Sterling

In the eCommerce era, manufacturers have lost control over how and why consumers select their products. Over the past decade, the online channel growth has caught many companies flat-footed, and unable to adapt to the reconfigured market landscape. In this Industry Today article, Motiv offers 3 specific ways that companies can manage brand perceptions and re-gain relationship equity with customers that’s lost through online purchasing. For starters, they must take advantage of a customer’s “out-of-box experience,” with packaging solutions that deliver positive visual and visceral impressions while they are unpacking or removing the product from its box. Read the full article here.

When Does a Consumer Product Become a Cultural Icon?

Posted by Bill Sterling

Very often, a new product isn’t celebrated for its beauty, innovation or enduring design when it’s first launched. It can take years for consumers to recognize a product as a bona fide game changer, and to acknowledge its status as a cultural icon.

Keurig Canada, founded in 1919 by Albert-Louis Van Houtte, has played an important role in Keurig’s market success, and Canada is rightfully proud of their company’s contribution. The Keurig brewer has achieved “design legend” status in Canada, taking its place among other classic products, including the Apple iPhone, the Phil & Ted’s 3-wheeled baby stroller and the Burberry plaid scarf. The Keurig brewer is currently on exhibit in Québec City at the Musée de la Civilisation.

Motiv is also proud of its involvement in the design and commercialization of what has become an important part of everyday life in Canada.

How Motiv Helped Zarbee’s Disrupt the Cough Drop Category Through Package Design

Posted by Bill Sterling

Founded by pediatrician Dr. Zak Zarbock, Zarbee’s Naturals™ went to market in 2008 with a safe, drug-free, vitamin-enhanced cough syrup for children that’s based on the effectiveness of dark honey for calming coughs and soothing irritated throats. That success has led to other products, including its new line of Honey Cough Soothers, a premium product that’s redefined the cough drop category. Motiv helped Zarbee’s to disrupt the market with innovative package design to connect the product with the power of Zarbee’s Naturals™ wholesome ingredients, consisting of 96% real honey.


Motiv Works with MIT to Nurture Next Generation of Product Engineers

Posted by Paul Metaxatos
MIT Red Team workingMonths of research and planning went into development of the Red Team’s prototype product.

Each year, in Course 2.009: Product Engineering Processes, students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology work in teams to design and build working “alpha” prototypes of new products. The course is designed to emulate what engineers might experience as part of a commercial product design team in a modern product development firm.

Each one of the 8 MIT student teams in the course were required to construct a high quality, functioning product prototype that was consistent with a specific “strategic theme.” The product theme in the most recent course was “Super;” where teams were challenged to create “products that can augment our abilities with super-human strength, extend the reach of our minds, help us to master challenges, metamorphosize ourselves, energize, and enhance our reach through tool.

BlinkProductShot_ComboThe Red Team’s prototype product — branded “Blink” — empowers disabled individuals to perform a range of tasks by blinking their eyes.

Motiv was honored to participate in an advisory capacity to the MIT course, with two of our staff members – James McGee and Brent Boswell – serving as mentors for the Red Team. James currently serves as creative director at Motiv, with a background in industrial design and expertise in product UI/UX. Brent is a seasoned mechanical engineer, and a graduate of MIT who participated in this same course as an undergraduate at the school.

The Red Team chose to develop an innovative eyeglass device they branded as “Blink.” Leveraging smart home electronic devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Assistant, Blink empowers individuals with advanced neurodegenerative diseases to perform a broad range of manual functions simply by blinking their eyes while wearing the eyeglass device. Using Blink, for example, a wheelchair-bound individual can easily control lighting, room temperature, home security, television, music and telephone.

RedTeamPresentation_ComboThe Red Team demonstrated its Blink product and answered questions from the audience in their final presentation.

Motiv and MIT: A Win-Win for Students and Mentors

In their role as course mentors, James and Brent served as experienced advisors, providing non-prescriptive guidance to their team, as well as written feedback at four milestones throughout the course. Their role evolved throughout the term to match their team’s needs; for example, early in the term they encouraged students to collect potential Blink user feedback, and advised them on how to convert those insights into product design. Later in the course, they provided guidance on technical implementations and model making techniques.

Based on their mentoring experience at MIT, both James and Brent had high praise for the value of the course for students. For most, this was their first exposure to product development, and to identifying and addressing user needs rather than applying engineering theory to a problem. The course’s major difference, and lesson taught, is that there are often many valid solutions to problems, and the most successful solutions are those most closely tied to the user needs.

Red Team Presentation 2The Red Team that Motiv mentored was one of 8 teams participating in the MIT course. 

For Motiv, the course builds understanding and enthusiasm for the product design and engineering disciplines. The firm also gains exposure from the students, course staff and 16,000+ viewers of the course’s final presentation audience (available for viewing here.) Additionally, start-up companies often emerge from the course, and several MIT graduates take positions with start-ups each year. And in that respect, Motiv is well-positioned to serve any of those companies with design and engineering support.

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