Personalisation within Design

January 2, 2010

This topic is something I have decided to look into after seeing work by Henrietta Swift.

Her sticker collection ‘LIghten my mood’  is noval and tongue in cheek.  You can’t help but smile at the idea of personalising your lightswitches.  The idea goes further than just personalisation.  It is the notion of characterising and bestowing the inanimate with personality.

When I thought about this, I thought of how some of us have the need to personalise objects – stickers on our keyboards, on our laptops, on notebooks, graffiti – tagging etc.

Above: Keyboard sticker set by Christopher Monro Delorenzo.


We used to learn our alphabets by reading those classroom banners that associated each letter with an animal or object. These days as kids become increasingly computer dependent at an early age I thought it was about time to adapt an old method to a new medium.

From cultural icons to greek mythology, this keyboard sticker set will advance the alphabetical knowledge of any child, or adult.”

I think what I find intriguing about this topic, is how Design can be pushed further than it’s original intention or purpose.  In these previous examples we can see that the function of the product remains, but the aesthetic has been pushed further, to create new understanding and meaning.

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This topic bleeds into Customisation within design.  One such example, is the brand Converse.  Sure, you can buy a pair of converse from a retailer, and yourself customise the shoe by changing the laces, the way the laces are threaded, or by even adding badges etc.  You can go further however, by using the brand’s website to totally overhaul the design of your shoe.

You can modify most aspects of the shoe, and even add your own identity signature.  What would be truely innovative, is if you could upload your own artwork to the website, to be printed on to the shoe you are designing.

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Xbox facias

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Personalising our technology – Whether we do it professionally :

By customising the outer shell, hinge, inner casing and the colour of the apple logo via an external specialist company,

OR by using a lower tech, more personal method of adorning our laptops in stickers.  Stickers especially reflect fragments of ones personality.  What music they are in to, what brands they like or sapire to wear, the franchises they affiliate themselves with.  Stickers can be an efficient way of personalising possesions.

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Alison Carmichael:

iPhone face wallpapers:

Wallpapers for the iPhone are a really fun way to personalise the screen of your phone.  Because the screen is so large, the iPhone lends it’s screen nicely to be characterised.  The mobile phone is such personal object – especially the iPhone as it is capable of so much, and can hold so much information.  It sort of makes sense that it should have a personality.  Mobile phone supplier the carphone warehouse caught on to this notion years ago, with this advertising campaign:

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Going back to the beginning of this entry, there is definately a fascination with seeing the human characterstics in inanimate, everyday objects.  This blog http://www.facesinplaces.blogspot.com/ stores such objects with faces in one website.

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