I’ve been noticing a preponderance of technologies (computers, stereos, plasmas) moving from cool, slick, futuristic design towards designs with a more human touch. Technologies transitioning from soulless to soulful industrial design… personalized, individualized, using warm, tactile natural materials in their design such as leather, inlaid mother of pearl, fabric and wood. This makes technology more like humans: warm, touchable, familiar.
It could be a manifestation of a trend I wrote about a few weeks ago (exploration nation), reminiscent of the age of travel where trunks, cameras and transistor radios were covered in leather for protection. Sentimental Americans are revisiting the era that brought us the “aviation cocktail”, which was filled with wonder, exploration, voyages, journeys and discovery.
It could also be a result of latent fear of technology, and an attempt to make it more familiar, accessible and sympathetic to the human condition? But, I think it’s probably got to do more with self-actualization and expression. Our laptops, Blackberrys, iPhones, iPods and digital cameras have become appendages. New limbs. Extensions of us. We can no longer live without them. We no longer leave the house without them. So then, why not cover them in skin? Literally.
Gen-i – Taking this thought a step further, “Gen-i” (i.e., those born after the world-wide web, 1989) who can’t imagine a world before laptop computers, use their computers as an extension of their identity. Personalized computer skins can be designed or downloaded and printed at home and then applied to the laptop’s exterior. When sitting in Starbucks a laptop screen is sign, a calling card a thought bubble. In a world where it’s so hard for people to connect, and where the art of conversation has died, a laptop skin is an easy entre to discussion and magnet of like-minded individuals.