For me, anything from user-interface design to engineering stimulates my mind. I do not have any brand allegiances; I buy merchandise that I consider visually stimulating. Granted, not everything that looks innovative is actually effective, and that’s why I do read reviews on products before I make a purchase. I do believe that the aesthetics of a product or service will always draw customers. As a designer, I will always side with the artistic community and their work, be it mechanical engineering or a painting. There is something that should inspire and motivate people when looking at a well-constructed piece such as an iPhone or House of Marley’s Headphones. The same can be said for a piece of software that has beautiful user interface design.
When I was younger, I used to be a huge fan of brands. Brands such as Nike and Nintendo were the only brands I actually bought from. In fact, ever since I bought my first video-game console, the NES, I didn’t look at any systems other than Nintendo. Then, PlayStation was released and I became a Sony fan boy. I think that’s why most people bought products 50 years ago, and still do today – brand loyalty.
However, it’s become challenging to remain loyal to a brand because the playing field has become so much more even. For example, I own an iPhone 4, but I really do like the way the new Nokia Lumia 900 looks. The reason I haven’t switched over to the Nokia is because the operating system. I like the way iOS runs, and the way it is designed, so at the end of the day design plays a big role for me when selecting products.
Years ago, you had your Mario fans or your Tekken and Gran Turismo fans; so you picked one console and stuck with it. There is something different in today’s gaming world, in that it has a multi-platform titles rule, and that you can pretty much own either of the two major consoles and get the same experience on it. This is why I own both the Xbox360 and the Playstation 3. It all comes down to exclusive features, and this trend will continue even with the next generation of consoles on the horizon, it will be the same story all over again.
Looking back, we have come a long way in terms of owning products that are pretty much available to anyone, regardless of your social status. So the next phase is pretty much the era of distinguishing your product from your competitors, and the only way to do that is through unique and exclusive content.