I am happy to bring you The Road to Ten - Part 2. In writing the Part 1 post I forgot a few items I thought would be cool to include. This was my first take on the Aluratek business cards. Here are two different designs from 2006 / 2007 trying to use spot varnishes and corner radius which proved to be not worth the trouble.
Aluratek business card layouts.
The first product we launched was a Bluetooth Headset and a Bluetooth Adapter. This seems like yesterday when these products arrived on my desk and the clamshell di-lines appeared in my inbox. Here is a photo of my product silkscreen illustration for the headset that I found taped in my sketchbook.
Bluetooth Headset (ABD202F) product silkscreen.
Here are some clamshell layouts for the headset and adapter. At first I was using the "A" logomark as a design feature. The "dial" as I call it being used for callouts. Initially I really liked this approach but the coming different clam sizes, product cavity placement and the addition of French for our Canadian customers made this design unworkable and inconsistent.
First clamshell insert layouts.
Every product package includes a quick start guide or manual. Here is a look at how I used to illustrate products for the qsg's.
First version quick start guides.
KVM quick start guide.
I redesigned the clamshell packaging hoping to improve consistency. The clam insert on the right was an early design. I was really trying to make this "dial" work with the logo inside this time. The halftone pattern was used just to fill space (which really isn't a good reason). I can tell the version on the left was updated with different halftone and refinements to the dial. We used this design for a while on clams, blisters and boxes. But like the first design, this design was also fazed out because I couldn't find consistency across the board. It worked on some packages but not for all. I was limiting my "real estate" by having this dial and stripe take up a third of the space. Some boxes and clams were too small for this design so scale was also an issue.
Second version clamshell insert layouts.
Before I scraped this design I made other improvements to the dial and stripe. You can see version 3 on the left and version 4 on the right. I really had fun working on this mark. We used this through 2008 and into 2009.
Logo treatment for packaging.
Had to throw these in there - illustrations I used to create in this style. These were for a product that was never launched, the Game W.A.V.E. (wireless audio / video entertainer). Ha, that guy in the second illustration, sitting on the couch closest to the TV is me!
Game W.A.V.E. package illustrations.
In 2007 we moved to our own offices down the street from our leased office. This was a big step for us and a great feeling to have our own facilities. It was a good size for us at the time. Reception area with a conference room and one large room where everyone worked. The building we moved into was a mess at first. The floors were linoleum so winter mornings were sooo cold (even in SoCal). We eventually got carpet so that helped.
I found the farthest corner I could to get away from all the ringing phones and conversations but really there was no escape. I found a pair of headphones worked well to drown out the noise. I remember how cool it was that the office had motion sensor lights. Here are some pics from those early days. Top left: John assembling hard drives. Top right: Dave and Andrew doing the same. We all must have assembled hundreds of these during this time. Bottom left: First coffee maker resting on our trash can coffee table - very important. Bottom right: Our first server propped up on a roll of paper towels, nice!
12A Mauchly building.
We have a front door! I had a vinyl logo produced and installed on the window. Now we are going places!!!
Front door signage.
The warehouse space was on the small size. We quickly realized we needed more space. For a while we had to store our pallets in the middle of our workspace, bathroom hallway, conference room, kitchen and lobby. We even stored product in row after row in the parking lot. It was another milestone when we had the warehouse racks installed and purchased our first forklift.
Boxes, boxes, boxes!
During our time at Mauchly, we all chipped in where we could. We all wore several hats. We spent hours and hours in the warehouse unloading containers and labeling product for shipping. I spent uncountable hours in there hand making signage for retail displays with tape, staples, cardboard and spray mount. Top left: Here's Andrew among a pile of Cinecam boxes. Top right: Our National Sales Director, John Messenger, visiting us from our Ohio office. Bottom left and middle: Andrew assembling our Libre eReader point of purchase displays. Bottom right: New gondola shelving on castors showcasing digital frames, hard drives, and internet radios. This is the first time we had enough skus that I can show package identity across multiple product families. I remember this gondola system because of how heavy and cumbersome it was to transport. We dragged this thing to CES in 2008 and displayed our product in a hotel suite. We finally made it to the show floor in 2010 although we would drag it back for the 2011 show.
Work, work, work!
In late 2007 I produced our first official product guide: 08' Aluratek: Digital Technology Made Fun." Simple accordion fold design focusing on our two largest product categories at the time - digital photo frame and storage. Up to this point I was only creating quarterly line cards. It turned out to be nice printed piece. I followed up with yearly product guides up to 2011 which would be our last physical guide. We still produce them but in digital form only. That's the trend. Thanks internet! Good for the company, not so good for print shops and designers. A funny sidenote - you may notice that the studio shots of our products have a reflection. This is easily achieved by photographing the products on glass and cleaning up the image in Photoshop. I can still remember shooting our first half dozen skus on a hand held mirror!
Aluratek booth at The Source show, Toronto, Canada.
One perk for me early on was the opportunity to travel with the sales guys and help out at vendor shows. My first "sales" trip was in August, 2008 when John took me to The Source show in Toronto. I wrote in my sketchbook "spoke more words in three days at the show than three weeks in the office." A bit out of my comfort zone and challenging talking about the products to potential customers. It's one thing to know and understand the technology and another to explain it. One afternoon after the show we drove to Niagara to see the falls. To be there in person to witness it was unbelievable.
Aluratek booth at The Source show, Toronto, Canada.
Who are these young fellas?.
In celebration of our 10 year anniversary we are offering 10 items for $10! These deals will stick around for the rest of the year. Stay tuned for part 3 coming soon.
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