We show a lot of what we call "downloadable designs" on TreeHugger; as we said on our Absolut World website, "With digital designs we decide what we want from the best in the world, not what Mr. Store Manager picks out." That is why we completely fell in love with Ponoko, an "online space for a community of creators and consumers to use a global network of digital manufacturing hardware to co-create, make and trade individualized product ideas on demand."
They have put together a catalogue of designs that are available now, but have added a new feature that may change the way designers work and shoppers shop: Ponoko ID.
Typical Ponoko Products
Currently, designers come up with ideas and put them on the Ponoko site. With Ponoko ID, anyone who wants something asks for it; designers then place a bid to supply it.
Ponoko's Derek Elley says "Ponoko ID is a way for shoppers and designers to collaborate to create something unique and special. "What's exciting is that Ponoko ID makes getting something made just for you as easy as sending an email," he says. "Shoppers no longer have to accept 'one size fits all' mass produced goods but can now save a bunch of money to get their ideas turned into reality by expert designers worldwide."
We currently work in a system where a designer is hired to design a product for a mass market, which the manufacturer and retailer hopes is attractive to the public. Some things work; some don't, and end up in the discount bin or the dump. It is a messy and wasteful system.
Now anyone can say what they want and designers will respond and have it made just for them, all in a simple, online format, sort of the Amazon of custom design. What an extraordinary idea. ::Ponoko
From the Ponoko ID site:
How Ponoko ID works: Overview
ID is a way for shoppers and designers to collaborate to create something unique and special. Shoppers use ID to post requests for custom-made individualized goods. Designers then have the chance to put forward a bid to make the item. Here's how it works.
Step 1: Shopper posts a request
You make an ID request by filling in the form on the ID homepage. Include as much detail as possible so designers get a clear idea of what you want. Your request is sent to a selection of designers.
Step 2: Designers place bids
You place a bid to design and make the item by emailing a brief proposal to the shopper. This should cover your ideas for approaching the project as well as cost, timing, shipping and payment details. Your bid doesn't have to match the request exactly. You may have different ideas, say, on what's reasonable in terms of price or timing. The idea is for you and the shopper to reach an agreement you are both happy with.
More on Ponoko in TreeHugger
It is Already Happening: Ponoko
Ponoko Visits Unto This Last
Ponoko Brings On-Demand Design to the U.S.
Reviewed: 2D Design to 3D Product Process at Ponoko
Ponoko Online Furniture Manufacturing: If You Dream It, They Can Build It
And more on Downloadable Design