MARIA MARINESCU- DUCA
THE BRAND IN USE
Working in a team of three, Andrew, Alice and I were asked to develop propositions for
a new lifestyle brand aimed at the home of the future, in approximately 10 years’ time.
We were given the space of the dining room as a starting point within the home.
Therefore, we identified and responded to emerging social, cultural, technological,
economic and political phenomena surrounding it.
This enabled us to anticipate how these might manifest themselves in new concerns,
desires and behaviours within the domestic context.
Through a workshop following the project launch we were able to collaborate in
creating a database of ideas which could be addressed within the future and would be
especially relevant in creating the complex factors which form our brand moments.
We explored the prospects of our dining experience through
step cards, eventually singling out the ones we felt strongly
Within our group, there was a particular interest on the social
aspects of everyday life, as dining is an activity pertaining to
society, being far more than just consuming food and beverage.
Based on four of the step cards we developed various design opportunities,
presenting our vision of the future with and without the imagined products.
My concern lied within a scenario that is
also applicable in present times: eating
alone, together. However, as we discussed
our future moments, we determined that
our brand moments will rather take place in
a dystopia. Thus, this plausible scenario
gained value and momentum for me by
being an almost caricature of the present
moment; the exaggerated scenario of the
tomorrow where people will be so
absorbed by their devices and will stop
from communicating with one another.
At this point we started exploring
who our customer might be and
communally decided to focus on a
demographic of food conscious
people, almost to the point of
paranoia, as it seemed
appropriate to our dystopian
future. How might they enjoy the
experience of dining? How can we
ease that anxiety with our
products? We explored nutrition
as well as the analytic nature of
such a demographic.
We started mapping out potential
areas of use for our brand and
through this decided that
technology should be something
our brand embraces. Fighting its
counterproductive, as its
incorporation in our brand came
We communally decided that the experience we wanted to portray was one of
deepened human connection as we explored various brand scenarios. We chose to
further explore a moment of extreme usage; a dinner party with complete strangers
as guests, where the partaking members are both nervous and eager to get to know
one another. Our brand can provide that ease, it can consist in the icebreaker and
can build relationships, all using future-day AI, the core instrument of Din.
Our scenario consists of a young couple that just got
married and is moving together into their first flat. They
would like to get to know their neighbours better but are
unsure how to go about that. As such, a dinner party would
provide a fantastic opportunity for the newlyweds to
familiarize themselves with their next-door neighbours.
We considered our product to be a special something that you could
get as a moving in gift or even a wedding present, something
thoughtful, beyond a short-term investment. Similarly, to your nice
china our products would be primarily reserved to special occasions.
This conclusion reflected in Din’s ethos and product family.
The definitory point for our
brand consisted in the brand
archaeology workshop with
graphic design expert Pedro
We were asked to compare
two competitor brands,
highlighting the similarities
and differences, dividing their
brands fabric into categories
which we could further define.
clearer in our vision, we were
able to get a better
understanding of what a brand
is and how designers can
create its perception and
Our given brands consisted of
high fashion retailer Maison
Margiela and high street brand
Superdry. Both in company
policies and design vision we
found plentiful differences. As
the graphical language was
As our brand identity evolved, so did its name. The
first titles included “Provenance”, “Fortis” and
“Discourse”. However, the brand felt more playful
and light-hearted, thus the contrast between these
names and the brand identity seemed apparent.
FIRST LOGO DESIGNS
After deliberations we settled on the title “Din”. Apart from being a shortened
version of the word dinner, “Din” to us means the sound of chatter, the clink of
glasses and the loudness that comes with an engaging evening amongst others.
INITIAL LOGO DEVELOPMENTS
Realising a brand is not necessarily what you want
to portray but how the public perceives that
intention, we surveyed the public to see what
impression it gave them. Based on that we further
refined our name, marks, colour and material
palettes. We found our intention to be better
understood following these changes.
VALUES Reliable Fun Technological
FIFTH ELEMENT Rainbow
Holding a dinner party at home has never been easier. Through technology-based products,
Din takes the stress out of hosting. Relax and enjoy the atmosphere, leaving you and your guests
able to enjoy the experience every single time. We aim to build and deepen relationships during
dinner in an increasingly disconnected world. All you need to do is just follow our lead.
Din: Connect, over dinner.
As a starting point for designing my product I chose to observe the small subtle interactions between
people around the dinner table. The clink of the glasses, the choreography of slicing your food; all whilst
conversing with the ones around you. A particular shape seemed timeless to me; the archetype of a glass.
Social drinking in western culture (and in many other civilizations) is seen as a ritual around the dinner
table, an act of vulnerability and celebration, going beyond its traditional value.
For my first product exploration I designed a drinking
system, using a bottoms-up serving method.
PROCESS OF ALIMENTATION
The glasses would be alimented by existing liquids or by
pigments that would reflect the guest’s preferences, as
picked up by the AI technology analysing their behaviour.
Thus, every guest will have a drink tailored to their
preferences, as well as their behaviour that evening- and will
be able to share this beverage with the guests around them.
ALIMENTATION OF DRINKS
BASE OF VALVE
Following the product family’s presentation, I realised that whilst this product might create a fun moment in time, it does not
fully belong in the futuristic scenario. It is more plausible that such a mechanism would be innovative rather in present times.
Through tutor feedback I felt
it would be more appropriate
to research a set of various
networked products that can
intensify the technological
bond of our dining scenario. I
felt as if simply providing a
new perspective towards
drinking was not relevant
enough to the functions of my
evolve in ten years’ time.
Through model making,
working primarily with
thermoplastics I started
designing a centrepiece
around these networked
items. The centrepiece would
serve as decoration and
output for data that is
gathered through cutlery.
I analysed current tableware
and dining décor trends trying
to predict how they would
MATERIAL AND FORM SAMPLES
INITIAL CENTERPIECE DESIGN
The centric form of this iteration
was based around the concept
of the dinner becoming its own
separate entity. What if your
interactions around the dinner
table could be summarised
symbolically through a fictional
planet? Designing in mind with
that the surprise feature of
Alice’s app could be, I prototyped
how these fictional planets could
evolve in the digital medium.
QUICK APP RENDERINGS
EVOLUTION STAGES OF THE PLANET
With the design still feeling removed from our brand core, we decided to repurpose Andrew’s cone
design “The Nudge” (representing AI receptors) and carry it through to the centrepiece.
INTUITIVE MODEL MAKING
After some simple desktop modelling observing and recreating my colleagues design in different
scales, we landed on a proportion we were all pleased with.
RHINO RENDERING FOR 3D PRINT
In pursuit to convey the feeling of blossoming, the Hub is both a centrepiece and a system of
lighting, directly representing the conversations that are being held around the dinner table.
Every light and pulse of the device represents you and your guests’ interactions in a positive
light- encouraging curiosity from other members of the dinner party, as well as affording
Using 3d printing I achieved the central shape of the cone. In the centre 6 glass tubes are inserted and lit with led bulbs in our
corresponding brand accent colours, representing each of the guests of the dinner party. The tubes are moved by a servo
using a rotating motion, attached to a mechanism and to the base of the tubes, affording the movements.
Branding colourway taken into materiality and visuals of products
DOCUMENTING OUR BRAND IMAGE
THE BRAND IN USE
THE BUSSINESS CARDS
For the exhibition we felt it was important to fully embrace the role of a brand
ambassador. We chose to go for a light top and dark bottoms, utilizing shades of black,
white and grey. We wanted to present ourselves in smart but approachable clothing,
leaving the brands trademark rainbow accents steal the spotlight.
Brand X proved to be a very fulfilling project
when it came to exploring form through both
physical and digital making. Ultimately it was
an important experience to compromise my
artistic vision towards the communal brand
vision. I feel as a team we were ultimately
very successful in creating a cohesive
language of materiality whilst respecting the
brand guidelines. In the future, I would like to
develop the level of detail in the model, as
well as refining its purpose outside of the
dining space. The Hub could be found as a
mediator in a business meeting, or could be
used in quantifying conversation in a
professional sense outside of the fun
escapism of the dining experience.