Watts Martin of Coyote Tracks has an interesting piece titled “Iconic” that discusses the idea of trade dress — the reason why Apple doesn’t have any branding on the front face of the iPhone:
You don’t need to see the name plate on a Ford Mustang or a Corvette or a Porsche 911 to recognize one. Or a Coke bottle. Or, once you’ve seen one, a Tivoli Audio tabletop radio. Or a McIntosh amp. These products have a design language that’s become part of their brand identity [...] That’s what Apple wants, too: products that look like Apple. They’ve nailed it. You can look at a computer or a tablet or a phone being used in a coffee shop and you can immediately tell Apple or not Apple even if you can’t see the logo. And this is virtually unique in their industry: you’ll usually need the logo to know exactly what the not Apple product is.
This is why trade dress battles are so important to Apple. Try introducing a soda in a container that’s easily mistaken for a Coke bottle and see how far “har har har, you can’t patent curved glass!” gets you as a defense. If somebody makes a product that can be easily mistaken for an Apple device, then Apple is going to do whatever they can to get that product either off the market or changed.
DSLRs are pretty uniform in their appearance, so we don’t see much fuss about trade dress in that sector, but it’s interesting that there isn’t more tension between Leica and Fujifilm — two companies that both offer cameras without front branding.
Iconic [Coyotke Tracks via Daring Fireball]
Hasselblad mixed things up today by announcing a new “ultra luxury” APS-C mirroress camera. Sounds like Earth-shattering news, right? Take a little closer, and you’ll notice that it’s not as monumental as it sounds. Basically, the company has taken a page from Leica’s book by playing the rebranding game. Just as Leica -Lux compact cameras are essentially rebranded Panasonic Lumix bodies, the new Hasselblad Lunar is a dressed-up version of the Sony NEX-7.
Do you love the design of Apple products? Do you have infinitely deep pockets? If you said yes to both questions, then I have some good news for you.
At Leica’s special event last night, after the new Leica M was announced, company owner Dr. Andreas Kaufmann revealed that they’ve got a very special limited edition version of the camera planned — one that’s designed by legendary Apple designer Sir Jonathan Ive.
Designer Andrew Kim thinks that point-and-shoot cameras aren’t simple enough for many ordinary consumers. After all, if you’re only looking to take snapshots of everyday life, having buttons and dials that can toggle undesired functions is more of an annoyance than a benefit. Taking a page from Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa’s book, Kim created a concept camera that he calls the Pentax Si.
Fuji already introduced retro, Leica-style design to the world of mirrorless cameras with its gorgeous X series line, and now it appears that the company wants to do the same thing for the world of point-and-shoots. New leaked photos, first published on Digicam-info, show an unknown compact camera by Fujifilm that features a slick leather wrap and an elegantly minimal UI — a camera that definitely wouldn’t embarrass fashion-forward folk.
Watch out, Flickr — Instagram is coming for you. The popular photo sharing app has quietly updated its website to include commenting and liking on individual photo pages. Previously the website was “read only”, and any interaction with the social network was limited to its mobile interface. The new website, which also features larger images and a slick blue theme, suggests that the company may soon be breathing down Flickr’s neck by expanding beyond mobile. However, it still noticeably lacks profiles and photo discovery features.
(via The Next Web)
Using the human eye to control cameras isn’t a new idea — Canon used to offer eye-controlled focusing in its SLRs — but designer Mimi Zou‘s Iris concept camera takes the concept one step further by having the camera be entirely controlled by the eye. Shaped like a lens, the photographer uses the camera by simply looking through it. Focusing, zooming, and snapping photos are done by looking, narrowing/widening the eyes, and blinking (respectively).
Italian designer Tommaso Guerra is known for transforming various objects into household design items. The wall-mounted swiveling lamp above was created using a 35mm camera, with a lamp shade as the lens shade. More photos here.
Image credit: Photograph by Tommaso Guerra
After seeing some elegant black picture frames with brass edges in a designer magazine, Courtney of A Thoughtful Place realized that she could create the same look on the cheap by using some plain painter’s tape and a can of brass spray paint. The project takes a couple hours to complete and a few dollars in supplies, and is a thrifty way to add a dash of style to your home if you don’t want to shell out money for pricey frames.
DIY Brass Frames: HB Knock Off (via Lifehacker)
Image credits: Photographs by Courtney/A Thoughtful Place
Concept products aren’t a rarity. In the world of cars and computers concepts usually make us ooh and ahh at their beautiful styling and implied functionality, but in the world of cameras things can get a bit, strange. Such is the case with a new SLR concept by industrial designer Arti Patel called the All.Round SLR. Read more…