Anticipation is seldom rewarded nowadays. We live in times where everything is not just a commodity, but something that can be delivered on demand. Whether it’s casual sex (Tinder and Grindr) or a TV series (Netflix and Amazon), Angela Carter’s ‘anticipation is the greater part of pleasure’ ideology has been kicked to the curb. Instead, the somewhat childish ‘are we there yet?’ mentality seems a hell of a lot more appropriate today, in an age where waiting more than 24 hours for anything feels like a violation against our human rights.
From this offset comes the premise of 3D printing, whereby the layering of materials forms tangible objects right before the eyes, feels like it should have taken off by now. However, up until a few years ago, 3D resided in the backstreets of technology buzz, waiting with bated breath for the right moment to make some noise.
That moment has arrived.
Stealthily making headway in practically every one of our societal infrastructures, 3D technology is in the consumer hub, where we can witness the true democratization of manufacturing. Not any old Tom, Dick or Harry can reproduce a body organ or make a blueprint for a plane engine, but a kitchen towel holder seems doable for even the most stubborn technophobes. While most projected growth figures encompass the definitive growth potential for all sectors, be it aerospace, medicine or consumer, when we extract ‘personal use’ potential as a single qualifier from the group, we discover that the biggest surge in growth will be consumer driven:
[Image source: The Business Insider.]
As more of us average folk start waking up to 3D technology, companies such as Makerbot are able to commodify this interest and make it commercially profitable, hence the reason printers like the Makerbot Replicator Mini have emerged. Retailed at a reasonably priced $1,375, this printer crystallizes the sentiment that 3D printers are no longer a toy for the elite, but rather a useful house accessory for the everyday person. Even the hard-to-get-your-head-around design element has been dumbed down into bite-size chunks for us to digest.Thingiuniverse, Makerbot’s online platform where you can create, share and download blueprints, uses a layout that’s not so far removed from a Pinterest board. It takes on an inclusive rather than exclusive approach, claiming that ‘Thingiverse isn’t just for designers, engineers or CAD drawing experts. Anyone can learn.’ Which begs the question: If we can make an unlimited amount of consumer items like we make breakfast, from the comfort of our own home at a competitive price, will we ever go shopping again?
Big companies seem to be getting hot under the collar with this one. The last thing retailers need in this climate is a process that lets consumers create bespoke productions at a fraction of the cost. So guess what? They are jumping on board. This summer Amazon decided to say yes to 3D printing, and rightly so, considering Amazon’s big draw is the click-to-delivery convenience formula, which moulds perfectly with 3D’s customization-and-delivery model. While we have to wait and see where this leads to in terms of profit, it’s nothing but big news when a market leader chooses to endorse a new product imbued with potential threat or, at the very least, spread awareness far and wide to its millions of users.
The 3D printing market is something that brands and advertisers have to address with equal amounts of enthusiasm and trepidation. Firms will have to open themselves to working with architects and CAD specialists if they want to integrate brand vision with innovative technology, especially if they do not want to alienate groups that could brush this off as something that’s not for them. That said, 3D printing could be just the ticket for brands looking to take customer personalization one step further. So for those of you reading this in the brainstorming room, it’s time to add 3D printing to your next brief.
For a little inspiration, see how other brands have done it here.
Clementyne Chambers – Creative Copywriter, gyro Madrid
I favor using the right side of my brain, and choose gut instinct over rationality every time. Fortunately, that’s a winning combination here at gyro, where I am constantly in pursuit of ideas that make stomachs flip and mouths gasp. I am a textbook copywriter: witty taglines are my weakness.
After studying English Literature at Manchester University in the U.K., I worked for several high-end fashion labels and travel websites in London before worming my way into the gyro Madrid office.
I love dogs and humans in equal measure, and feel most at home when I’m living out of a suitcase; Africa is the next trip on my bucket list.
Follow me @humanorange