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Fred Targeted

‎Posted May 01, 2008 in Commentary, Company News. Tagged with .

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We should be extremely flattered then, that Target has chosen to duplicate one of our most popular items, Ice Kabobs. How come we don't feel so good then? Target has just unveiled a new line by fashion designer Cynthia Rowley. The "Whim Line" is a collection of summertime party items ranging from table cloths to beach chairs, and yes, ice trays. To say that this tray was "inspired" by our product would be an understatement. Target has even named it the "kabob ice cube tray". Clever! They have managed to cheapen it though, by making it smaller, using inferior materials, and packaging it in a polybag. When companies like Target or Ikea release furniture that "looks" like expensive designer originals, many people (and I include myself here) tend to accept it and look the other way because they are making something available to the masses that previously only the elite could enjoy. But that doesn't diminish the fact that the original design does belong to someone else, and is the product of their ingenuity, investment, risk-taking, blood, sweat, and tears. In this case, the original product isn’t even high-priced; it’s pretty much affordable to everybody – so the Robin Hood metaphor really doesn’t play. I'm not quite sure how much control Cynthia Rowley or any of the name-brand designers have over their Target lines. This is pure speculation on my part, but I see this as more likely a situation where some gutless Target “merchandiser” bought a bunch of stuff in the specialty market, dumbed it down and squeezed out some of the cost (and quality), coordinated the colors, and sought a designer-for-hire to give it cachet. That’s not how we do things here at Fred & Friends, I can tell you that. We are strongly focused on original ideas, good value, and support of local retail. We really enjoy what we do, and thrive on the wonderful feedback our customers have been giving us. So, what do YOU think? I’d love to know where our customers think the boundaries of fair competition lie and how you feel about this David vs. Goliath story. UPDATE: Go see what Blue Ant Studio has compiled on Target's "inspired" product history. Very interesting dialog from everyone. Thanks.

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The Dieline

‎Posted February 13, 2008 in Commentary, Publicity. Tagged with .

dieline.jpg As designers of product and packaging, we all love to get recognition from our peers. They get you, and what you do (or are trying to do). I was really pleased to see a posting on the dieline back in Dec that had some nice things to say about the packaging that we do at Fred. I'm a firm believer that over-packaging is a way of hiding a crappy product. If the item is good, it should be able to speak for itself, without all the flash and fluff. I have purchased many products with slick packaging, only to be extremely disappointed when I finally got to the real thing. I felt like I was tricked. We hopefully will continue to make products worthy of showing off. And dieline, thanks for noticing.

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Bob and Fred Speak

‎Posted November 10, 2007 in Commentary, Publicity. Tagged with .

aiga.jpg On Monday Nov 12th, the RI chapter of the AIGA and ISDA have invited Fred and the good folks at Bob's Your Uncle to talk about our products, design approaches and whatever else we feel like ranting about. If you're in the Providence area, we'd love to see you there. Grab the poster and relevant info HERE.

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