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Editorial design, graphic schemes, co-author, image research, image editing
Authors: Siem Haffmans, Marjolein van Gelder, Ed van Hinte, Yvo ZIjlstra - BIS Publishers
A large part of our current linear economy consists of fast-moving consumer goods. After a short usage period the product becomes waste, which ends up in a waste treatment plant for recycling or incineration or, unfortunately, leaks into the environment on landfills or as plastic soup. Should we stop consuming these products? Can we live without packaging, consumables and fashion? We could do without them, but sometimes we do need packaging to protect a product and to prevent food waste. In order to stop producing more waste we need to rethink our approach to those consumables. We need a more circular approach, starting at the beginning of production and consumption: the design. Through circular business models and design strategies Products that Flow demonstrates how end-of-life products can become a resource for new ones instead of becoming waste. The book describes circular business models and design strategies to inspire designers, marketeers and business developers.
A book about business and design, for it focuses on low value products that are not supposed to last and can be quite damaging to the environment. It concerns packaging, disposables, food, fashion and cheap gifts and gadgets.
PRODUCTS THAT FLOW is an unusual book about business and design, for it focuses on low value products that are not supposed to last and can be quite damaging to the environment. It concerns packaging, disposables, food, fashion and cheap gifts and gadgets. One option is to try and make them last anyway. This book mainly concerns the other choice: a search for alternatives. It is an important extension to PRODUCTS THAT LAST and also goes beyond the point where design and entrepreneurship tends to come to a halt.
PRODUCTS THAT FLOW offers an insight in the short lives of different products with a quickly dropping value. A wide range of practical examples point the way to managing the flows that currently often are out of control. It is a field of interest that many share and for that reason is destined to turn into fertile soil for improvement.
Many designers like to think about themselves as specialists who understand how to discover the functional essence of the product they are creating. They develop it through the eyes of ‘the user’. So much has this become a habit that other contexts, such as transportation, trading on the second-hand market, or sequential episodes of processing, are often overlooked.
Many materials are far too complicated for technical recycling. As it happens, many of them consist of ingredients that grow and feed on biodegradable materials. Most of them are plant-based. Their main advantage is that breaking them down takes little effort. A bit of shredding may be necessary. The ability to rot renders them almost harmless.
Products flow in different ways. There are several categories of course. Both between and within those, the speeds and durations of value change are different. For instance, in the category of disposables, the ‘lifestyle’ of a disposable surgical knife will totally deviate from the experience a disposable battery goes through from the factory to the recycling plant, which in turn has no similarity with a plastic fork. Their respective value behaviours are different.
Packaging serves more purposes than one would expect:

PROTECTION: Packaging is used to keep a product safe from external influences, varying from temperature, to moisture, UV light and mechanical forces to human tampering. If you want to sell fruit juice, you just can’t hand it over to customers. It should be contained in something.

THEFT PREVENTION: Displaying and selling small relatively valuable items, such as jewellery, or memory devices, packaging can serve to ‘enlarge’ products to prevent petty thieves from simply putting them in their pockets.
BRAND VISIBILITY: Obviously you provide the best product in your category and you want your customers to remember that.

DECORATION: Packaging has to look good and express the promise of what you will find inside.

THE UNPACKAGING EXPERIENCE: The YouTube phenomenon of Unboxing Videos includes videos of people unpacking everything from gadgets and food, to beauty products and luxury clothes. As a matter of fact, one in
five consumers claim they have watched one or two. While watching someone else opening the box,
we can dream away, opening the package and enjoying it ourselves.
TIME TO RETHINK: Despite our (non-digital) clocks still moving around in circles, our western perception of time is linear. This is what makes us think in terms of progress with an ambitious desire to rule both time and our natural environment by subjecting them to two other conceived economic concepts: property and money.
Products That Flow - 20 x 25 cm - 128 pages in flexcover - authors: Marjolein van Gelder, Siem Haffmans, Ed van Hinte en Yvo Zijlsta
Graphic design, image research, graphics and lithography: Yvo Zijlstra (Antenna-men) - Publisher: Bis Publishers, Amsterdam

English (ISBN 9789063694982) and Dutch edition (ISBN 9789063695897)