Friends with Things: Graphic Concept Design

Ravi had got in touch with me after seeing my Priority Seating project and was seeking design strategy for his website/project – Friends with Things > It’s a place where you can share things with, or borrow things from your neighbours for free – from bicycles to power tools, from cameras to sewing machines.

The site appeals to me in the broader sense of connecting neighbours and building community. One of the playful brainstorming ideas, was a tagline inspired from awesome Janet Jackson song – “Best Things in Life are Free”.   (so reminds me of highschool!)

The ideas is also inspired by the Brooklyn Superhero store –

This is a “front” for an education program and it sells hilarious products for superheroes like “a can of courage”, bottles of chaos and anti-gravity, cans of justice etc.  The store has real things on the shelves though you essentially are buying empty cans (I think you can buy and it raises funds for the organisation)

For FwT, items are traded for free but also it celebrates the idea that the rewards for participating in FwT and community sharing are also free.

The products could include:

A can of Friendliness
A bag of Contagious Smiles
A box of Warm and Fuzzies
A packet of Trust
A tin of Caring

I was most excited about the idea of a real market stall or pop-up store of these products.  It also works on web/digital platforms.  As I began to do this, I realised this is a whole branding exercise in itself, and a bit beyond my time/Photoshop skills, but fun to do.   This thinking of retail stores and products reminds me of Institute without Boundaries, looking at retail strategy for non-profits Evergreen and Habitat for Humanity.  Kat had created a “mock” store for the graduation exhibition.

These are all draft ideas, and the graphic execution feels rough – but I welcome further feedback and brainstorm.


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