2016/4 Design Magazine

Well-deployed archetypes are easily recognizable in most cultures and can be very powerful in product design.

Archetypes: hero's and outlaws

Sometimes during concept design a certain shape comes up for a new product that is good and powerful. But if that shape comes pretty close to an archetype of a product, say a phone, while we are not designing a phone, or it communicates an archetype hero, while the product is far from playing an herioc role, then we did something wrong.

Archetypes are unconscious patterns in the brain. They are found in the themes of oude verhalen (eg death and rebirth), characters in literature (eg heroes and villains), and imagery in dreams (eg eyes and teeth).

These patterns are a useful tool in design. For example, Harley Davison aligns its product design with the outlaw archetype, emphasising freedom and self expression. They give products a certain look and feel: black and chrome colour, distinctive sound, rugged looking people in black leather. Nike, named after the Greek godin of victory, uses a hero archetype: Micheal Jordan, Michelle Wie, Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong. Volvo uses the archetype of a care giver, building and focusing on safety innovations that take care of your family.

This does not mean that using the image of Michael Jordan on an Harley would not be succesful at all, but the archetype does not resemble with the design, so it creates an unconsious disturbance. Designs always benefits from consideration of archetypal themes, and how they relate to both the form, function and emotional resonance of a product.


No one recycles the stuff, yet it is everywhere, all around the world. After spending eight months in the chemistry lab, then a further three years at the London Metropolitan University's Polymers Department, Bullus succeeded in turning spent chewing gum into a polymer-like material that she calls Gum-Tec. Like plastic, Gum-Tec can be injection- and blow-molded.


A wooden toy-set for preschoolers, aiming to stretch children's imagination. It is easy to assemble and safe to play with.


A fresh look at baby chairs from Art-Alibi.


Minimally Invasive Surgery is a surgery practice that provide less post operation pain, less recovery time and less risk to infection than conventional open surgery. Dtool tries to help surgeons during MIS practices allowing the surgeons change the tool functions without taking out the tool.


Greener than green. A cargo e-bike concept to blend minimalism, modularity, and sustainability so as to make carrying goods a hassle-free experience.


The Italian water transportation company Jet Capsule unveils their latest seafaring concept, the ‘UFO’. It stands for unidentified floating object. The saucer-like unit is an energy autonomous vessel capable of estimated speeds of up to three knots. The floating object includes two habitable areas, other than the outer deck. A main level area houses the kitchen, and a floor access point connects to a sub-level bathroom and underwater viewing area.


This cooking tableware aims to represent apartments where the room boundaries have diluted and enclosed kitchens do no longer exist. The set consists of three main utensils, a wireless induction dock, a kettle and a pot made of ceramics, both completed with their cover and wooden handle. The piece’s versatility not only invites to move them comfortably to the table, but also allows to actually cook on it.

Omata One

An advanced GPS computer that is capable to display data in a cool, modern, analog design. The analog interface makes it easier to read while in motion. The design was carefully crafted to complement your bike.


Not only coffee can be made automatically, crafting beer can be done automatically as well. ArtBrew is a smart, automated brewing system that allows you to brew your own beer easily from the comfort of your own home. You can access the brewmaster app to pick the recipe, then insert ingredients, and press start.

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