Design Fiction | Speculative Design | Systems Design
For our Senior Lab in Speculative Design we were asked to design a fictional product or system. Entering into the world of fiction offered rich discussion and endless inquiry into the infinite possibilities of “what if….?” : what if we could give birth to endangered species instead of overpopulating the earth? What if we could convert the water in dehumidifiers into drinking water for places in a draught? What if gasoline never existed, and cars only ran on human excrement? What if money didn’t exist and tomatoes were worth more than gold, so that bartering revolved around farming? What would our world look like if guns and killing weapons were never invented, but battles were won with words? What if you could speak any language you wanted, any time you wanted to?
I created Chapspeak– a lip balm that allows you to speak different languages fluently. ChapSpeak is for those with Wanderlust: anyone with an itch to travel and travel a lot. People who want to island hop and country hop and backpack and go from place to place. People who want to experience the world to its fullest. But everyone knows that language barriers get in the way of that experience. Batteries on phones run out of juice, internet doesn’t always work, and pocket dictionaries only do so much.
Chapspeak tears down the language barriers. You simply apply Chapspeak to your lips and speak freely to people in their native language wherever you go! You gain the full experience of travel by connecting with people around the world. Chapspeak will completely transform tourism and the experience tourists can have!
*Textile backgrounds are found from: Google Images
I personally have Wanderlust – that itch to travel. I recognize that communication with people cultivates the greatest experiences wherever one travels . I feel the difference it makes to know Greek in my experiences with family and friends in Greece. So it occurred to me that Wanderlust is not completely fulfilling without the ability to communicate with people wherever we travel. This led to my personal “what if….”
What if you could do something, put something on, or change something about yourself that allows you to speak in another language while you travel? This would allow you to experience a culture more closely, more intimately, and without fear of miscommunication.
After presenting the short concept video and idea proposal to the lab, I felt like there were more avenues for me to push the idea of ChapSpeak. Making it a realistic, sellable product with complete packaging, marketing agenda and campaign would allow me to extend the concept into something that people would want to purchase ASAP.
Sales & Packaging:
Because it is small and offers no challenges that limit how to package or transfer the product, it is easy to ship anywhere. Just like Chapstick it could be sold at airport convenience stores, neighborhood markets, or even little kiosks in the villages of far away countries.
Packaging would be colorful and inviting. There would be different colors for differentflavors representing different languages–so you can “taste” different cultures. The campaign would be fun, complete with value packs of ChapSpeak for different areas of the world: Euro Pack, Latin Pack, Afro Pack, Asian Pack, Pacific Pack etc.
Regarding audience, the sky’s the limit! This product would explode in the world market like the iphone did. Not only people who enjoy travelling would be interested in using Chapspeak–but major international companies who have employees traveling all over the world would endorse this product. Dignitaries from all over the world would embrace this product. Media, the entertainment world, the sports world, any business really would jump on it.
*Watercolor images were placeholders during iteration processes, found through: Google Images
I feel the speculative design exercise is about freedom – removing shackles of reality or perception of reality to expand creativity. This project also really highlights all paths from idea to realization. We can interpret everything in our world as having started out as fiction – an idea not yet part of the real world. Everything started with someone asking “what if...”