Turning Banal into Bold
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Turning Banal into Bold

Matthew Pacione’s winning Scotch Tape dispenser. Photo by Lino Ragno.

OCAD keeps pumping out interesting art contests. Back in March, the school ran its nifty bike stand design competition, and just last week, it announced the winners of its collaborative industrial design competition with 3M Canada. For the latter, third-year Industrial Design students were asked to create new Scotch tape and Post-it Note Pop-up dispensers.

The competition was incorporated into the curriculum of OCAD’s Industrial Design program, and all students in this field were required to create at least one of the two products. To do so, they worked with representatives from 3M Canada throughout the course of the past semester, mimicking the marketplace’s back-and-forth dialogue between designers and their clients. These advisors came to check in on the students every two weeks or so, offering their advice and helping students focus their ideas. They also provided the designers with a brief that covered subjects such as cost requirements and the products’ target markets, and they told the students that their designs had to integrate an environmental component into the manufacture, life, and user cycles.

Scott Currie’s winning Post-it Note Pop-up dispenser. Photo by Lino Ragno.

Once the designs were complete, approximately fifteen of them were selected to move on to the final round of judging. In this final stage, the designs were assessed by Benjamin Errett, a Managing Editor at the National Post, and Mauro Porcini, the Head of Global Design for 3M Consumer and Office Business. After some serious deliberation and some narrowing down of the finalists, Matthew Pacione and Scott Currie were declared the winners of the Scotch tape and Post-it Note contests, respectively. For winning, they each received a $3,000 cash prize (second-place prizes of $1,000 were also given to Catalina Navarro and Arash Sadr).
Pacione and Currie’s final products may not seem that detailed at first glance, but each took many hours of deliberation and numerous variations of their models. To build his Scotch tape design, Pacione used a starch-based biological plastic and finished it with a biodegradable paint, but he says that his product can easily be made out of aluminum or cork. Despite the stringent requirements that the design brief laid out, the work looks vastly different from many of the other designs. According to Pacione, this occurred because even though 3M Canada “gave us a very narrow, focused demographic…within that, there’s still a range of users, so there was some freedom in that sense.”

Some of the finalists’ designs on display during OCAD’s Graduate Exhibition. Photo by Tim Kiladze/Torontoist.

Unlike Pacione’s model, Currie’s Post-it Note dispenser offers a much more basic aesthetic—but it certainly took as much work to create. “It seems simple,” he said, “but it took a lot of prototypes.” His model is built with an aluminum top and a cork base, and it took him quite some time to find a cover weight that wasn’t so heavy that it prevented notes from getting out but also wasn’t so light that it came off every time a Post-it was taken from the holder. When explaining his product, he notes that his simple design was a conscious decision that was chosen because it allows 3M Canada to use whatever material they want for the base. “I was trying to keep it simple and at the same time let 3M decide what they want to do with aesthetics,” he said.
On top of their cash prizes, both Pacione and Currie’s designs will be manufactured by 3M Canada—quite the reward for a class project. Although the launch of these isn’t expected until 2010, those who were able to check out OCAD’s Graduate Exhibition this past weekend were able to get a sneak peek of them in person, as well as some of the other final-round designs.