2010 - present
The idea for the Button Heads character design emerged from my own personal fascination with anthropomorphism. Firstly, here are a couple of definitions to help clarify the meaning of anthropomorphism:
Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities.
Anthropomorphism is a literary device that assigns human characteristics to nonhuman entities like animals or inanimate objects.
The inclination to anthropomorphise objects is considered to be an innate tendency of human psychology. I wanted to explore this tendency by designing a simple humanoid character, which was barely more than a blob with merely the suggestion of a head and limbs and then use this basic form to push the theory of anthropomorphic imputation. I have used Pinterest to collect a wealth of visual research and inspiration.
I wanted the appeal of the basic design to transcend all age groups, genders and cultures and to function effectively in many ways, communicating diverse purpose and functions, particularly being able to convey contemporary messaging with a sense of humour. The character designs that follow represent an exploratory delve into the relationships between branding, packaging, marketing and merchandising, with anthropomorphism at the core. These little guys blur the boundaries, challenge the norm and present an infinite universe of fun possibilities.
Eventually, we begin to relate to the form as though it has personality and character and then the form itself becomes the hero, almost like an anonymous actor who is famous only for the many roles he plays.
Major sporting events like the Football World Cup, present a wealth of marketing and merchandising opportunities. Using the Button Head to promote the various team kits immediately creates a character that fans can engage with. It is for us to decide whether these are toys, game figures or just promotional devices for the event itself.
The iconic branding and colours of classic Italian sports cars portrayed using Button Head characters. Are they premier-quality collectables, available at auto showrooms, or keyring accessories for owners?
2014 - present
Interested in extending the scope of the button Head form, I extended the design to incorporate basic household objects; in this case, a trigger spray bottle.
Inspired by the news that for a period in 2019, the hole in the Earth's ozone layer was reportedly the smallest it had been since the early 80s, these "Spray No More" bottles represent a push away from ozone depleting aerosols, which contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), towards more eco-friendly trigger spray bottles. CFCs are infamously responsible for contributing to ozone depletion.
From an anthropomorphic point of view, we can still relate to these bottles as characters, though the boundaries between toy, packaging and promotional device is becoming more blurred and it is becoming difficult to define a function.
Varying the Button Head form to represent packaging for a range of consumable products including; drink bottle, spread jar, sweets jar, syrup bottle.
Umbilical Boy is a character design which incorporates a 3" full range driver cone in the back of his head. The speaker cone is made of interwoven bamboo and hemp fibres which produce a natural, organic sound. The character connects to an iPod, iPhone, MP3 or notebook computer via a standard mini-jack plug and cable which connects at Umbilical Boy's navel.
Tibetan thangka paintings visually convey precise iconographic information about particular Buddhist deities and are traditionally used as a guide for contemplative and meditative experience. Here I have taken a simple, contemporary approach, reinterpreting the traditional Tibetan thangka whilst preserving the original iconography associated with the deities.