This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Pete, Daniel, Carl and Rob, a group of four rambling drinkers living in New York City. They make up Gotham Smith, a line of accessories for the fashionable gent.
What's the story behind your designs?
We had long gathered in lower Manhattan for drinks and lively conversation. We found that we shared not only an appreciation of the care that goes into a well mixed cocktail, but we also shared values on what accessories befit a man and tended to complement one another accordingly. Over the course of a year, our conversations flowed into sketches, sketches flowed into models, models flowed into final products, and products flowed into the company that you see today.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
After some attempts to build products out of stamped metal and wood, we quickly realized all of the difficulties involved. We had known about Shapeways and 3D printing, but we had never tried it out. We decided to print up some cufflinks for a friend's wedding and immediately loved the instant feedback of 3D printing via Shapeways.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
We are fortunate enough to have a resident mad scientist industrial designer in our midst. He actually cut his teeth with SolidWorks through a previous job building a vegetable-based lard factory. He handles the first pass at the 3D model and then we print, discuss, modify and repeat until we feel we have something ready to launch.
How do you promote your work? Do you have tips for other shop owners?
There are a variety of ways that we promote our work. We try to have a strong presence through various digital platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. We do have our own website along with our Shapeways shop to provide even more of the story behind our designs. Probably the biggest thing is that we were written up by many blogs right at launch which gave us a great boost in awareness.
Every designer should constantly be looking at various ways to reach their audience. There are so many platforms out there and you never know which one will be best for your audience until you experiment with many.
Who are your favorite designers or artists?
The cluster of current fascinations change every few weeks. We love so much obscure stuff that we actually keep a secret tumblr to pass references back and forth amongst the group. In the Shapeways community, Theo Jansen's Animaris Geneticus Parvus is our favorite: it's complex, impossible to understand, and totally awesome to watch crawl around. We also love the Bugaboo Locking Pin by the Bugaboo Repair Guy. Because it's a real solution to a real problem of modern products made with 3D printing. Simple, elegant, and the kind of thing we can get behind.
If you weren't limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
We are very interested in adaptive modeling. Perhaps a model changes according to when a customer ordered it or by the number of vowels in their name. Being able to tweak very fine details on a by order basis to give our consumers an even deeper story about their product would be amazing.
Anything else you want to share?
The world of 3D printing is so exciting right now. We encourage everyone to talk to as many people as possible, partner with as many people as possible, and be as open as possible so that we can really make sure 3D printing changes the world!