Speaking of Design
We’re psyched to introduce you to a handful of remarkable designers whose items will be featured during our tenth-anniversary party and “Fun & Functional” event with the American Design Club on November 10. We laud their work and can’t wait to see their stuff on display.
With a name like “fruitsuper,” it’s no wonder this design duo’s pieces are bright, bold, and likely to start a conversation. The Seattle-based business’s founders, Sallyann and Joe, admit they “take pride in obsessing over every detail” when working on a project. It’s good to know we’re in good company. Check out more of their work at fruitsuperdesign.com.
1. How did you get started as a product designer? Did you always want to be in this field?
We came from various backgrounds, but both were skirting around creative fields. I (Sallyann) originally started in fashion design and visual merchandising, but fell in love when I took my first three-dimensional design class and [studied] the ability to create forms. Joe was starting along a path of graphic design when he discovered industrial design. We both immediately fell in love with the entirety of the design process and the emotional roller coaster that is product design. The rush is incomparable. Some people run marathons, we design products!
2. Name of Fun & Functional product featured: Hairballs.
3. What’s the story behind your idea? What really inspired you to create it?
It’s the combination of three sparks that created the idea for Hairballs. The first spark came during the process of bringing our first fruitsuper design product to market, which was silicone jewelry. I noticed that every time I wore one of the silicone rings, it tended to pick up lint and dust. The second was the annoyance of constantly dealing with pet hair. The current solutions for dealing with lint and pet hair are the irritating to use, wasteful, and fairly ineffective “sticky” rollers. The third spark is the love of our own pet, Sunnycat (who we, of course, think is the most adorable cat EVER). With Hairballs, we wanted a way to deal with pet hair that would not only be way more effective, but could also be fun!
4. What was the hardest or most challenging part of designing this product? Any creative bumps in the road you dealt with?
The most challenging part was determining the right size, so that it would be comfortable in your hand, along with getting the “character” of the cat and dog just right. We really wanted to take the anonymity of the lint roller and create an object that would be totally functional and super adorable.
With Hairballs and in all of our work, we follow a philosophy we call “serious humor,” a balance of functionality and whimsy. We believe products should make our lives a little simpler, a little easier, and a little more fun.
5. How do you organize your work process to balance fun and functionality in your own daily grind? Any tips you’d like to relay to FOKKers?
The short answer; food, books, travel. The long answer: we’re still striving for the ideal live/work balance. As designers, there really is no “off” time. Our brains are always working through whatever current project we’re in the middle of—whether we want them to be or not! So it’s important that we are constantly inspiring ourselves. We’re able to feed this need the most by cooking and eating amazing meals, getting lost in great picture books and old bookstores, and of course traveling. Nothing fills us with more inspiration, comparisons, and contrasts than the joy of traveling.
Having these inspirations to draw from when the time comes is crucial to not only our organization, but for the balance of fun and functionality in our daily grind.