Shapeways, The Community

Success with Shapeways

We have started to see some real spikes of heavy traffic on Shapeways Shops based around a handful of really successful designs.  The products do not have much in common in themselves other than being clean, simple designs, but the presentation of each is impeccable with great images and descriptions that are easily shared in articles and blogs.

Over the past month, these four designs have had over 32,000 combined hits due to being picked up by a combination of blogs, press, Twitter and Facebook.

All four have fantastic images that not only describe the product, but also express an attitude or emotive element that sets the mood for the design. 

All four of them are shown in context of use so the design can be immediately grasped for what it is, the scale of the object and it’s use.

Three of the designs have great descriptions of the product detailing it’s function, ordering or assembly instructions.  The other has a playful brevity that continues the mood of the design.

The Road Popper was designed by Chromoly for themselves with no real intention of commercializing the design.  The design links a hot but niche market of Fixie bikes, combined with a broad interest (beer), with a hint of laconic irreverence that makes it a perfect for sending to your friends, or posting as a fun friday blog post.

The Pod à porter by Michiel Cornelissen is a simple, iconic design that solves a problem everyone who has ever worn earbuds has experienced.  The images range from an overall shot, to close details to the product in use by both male and female models, with all images looking professionally shot, with stylistic consistency. Even though the iPod shuffle may be seen as the lesser cousin to the iPad and iPhone, there is still enough interest/obsession with all things Apple to garner an extra segment of interest.

The Canvas Wrap by jbare design also manages to gain interest with an Apple related product but enters the market with a refined elegance missing in many third party apple products.  The images have a soft light that reinforces the feminine patterns and the YouTube video closes the sale when you see how perfectly it fits, and how flexible and robust it is for a 3D printed product. The design also garnered attention for being a perfect example of single person with a 3D printed product can now compete with mass produced objects. (something the Shapeways community knows and practices)

Sharky by Noodle-Labs is so playful you smile as soon as you see it.  The presentation with the hand drawn sketch perfectly reinforces the mischievous design, while at the same time humanizing the 3D printed object.  The design takes on the most mundane of objects linked to domestic drudgery and makes it fun.  No description is needed (except to say you need to provide your own spring), perfect to catch your eye when scrolling through the thousands of images we wee on our screens every day.

So, once you have your perfect design, 3D printed and photographed to perfection, you have written a description and made sure your shop has a logo and description as well, you put it on your Shapeways shop and wait?

No, now you need to Promote Your Design!

Each one of these designs was promoted online by both the designers themselves and by Shapeways.  We submitted the images, text and links to a number of design blogs, posted to our friends on Facebook, tweeted about them and basically attempted to get as many links as possible to point to these designs.  This is something we can do to a certain scale, but we do not have the resources to do this with every new design, we need you to promote your designs in the same way to keep bringing attention to your outstanding designs.

Submit to some suitable sites, post it on facebook, twitter about it, post it on the ‘it arrived! forum, put the image with a link on Flickr, put a video on YouTube, email it to your friends, explain it to your mother, StumbleUpon it, Digg it, Reddit it, do everything you can to get your design seen.  Once you have laid the seeds of awareness in a few places online others will pick up on it and do the same thing, get your friends to post it on their Facebook page, to retweet it and show it to their mothers too.  The more places online that link to your page, the more chance you have that someone from BoingBoing, Gizmodo or Notcot will stumble upon your design and deliver an avalanche of traffic to your design….. Keep on trying, it may take time, and your first design may not get picked up.  There are no garuantees other than it will not happen unless you try….

If you have any questions, suggestions or compliments, please feel free to contact me duann(at)

Good luck……

About me
Shapeways Designer Evangelist
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