Susan Taing is a problem solver. She plays with the intersection of art, science, design and tech to create unique products which address everyday problems. Her latest endeavor, the Bsteady Car Mount, is a hands-free phone device cleverly designed to fit on a car’s dashboard. After developing the Bsteady Car Mount, Taing conducted rigorous beta testing through her market testing platform, Bhold Labs to refine the form and features. Now, Taing is launching a Kickstarter campaign through which she hopes to bring her product to market.
Taing spoke with the NEW INC team about her design inspirations, the Kickstarter campaign, and the future of Bhold.
The Bhold products have a strong visual identity. Who or what inspires your sense of design?
Different aspects of my life have contributed to the visual language of Bhold. The forms often come from balancing function and play. Frequently, if a design starts to resemble a familiar object, I run with that. Examples include the jacks theme of the Bspun Cable Wrap, the anchor shape of the Bsteady Car Mount and the throw pillow shape of the Bsnug Earbud Wrap. I keep track of work by my favorite design icons, such as Joi Ito of MIT Media Lab. I’m also inspired by [NEW INC advisor] John Maeda of RISD, who’s now been recruited to KPCB. I’m excited to see his impact on the tech community.
I’ve always loved vibrant colors. Just before moving to New York City, I lived in Sao Paulo. Brazil enhanced my appreciation for the role color plays in our everyday life and its relationship to our emotions. People also ask me about the geometry of my shapes. I’m very obsessed with fluid, curved shapes, because they feel more natural to me. It makes for better usability if physical objects do not have sharp edges or corners. I’m one of those people who is obsessed with rounded corners. Actually, I just realized I may not know many people like this.
A goal of the Kickstarter Campaign is to bring your product to market. Where would you like to see Bsteady on the shelves one day: Target or the MoMA Design Store?
Of course I would love to see Bhold at the MoMA Design Store, and I hope they reach out to us! In the meantime, I design for maximum positive impact, and I can reach and help more people through Target. Can my answer be "on virtual shelves everywhere?" Eventually, we'll be doing all of our shopping online!
Are you still looking for beta testers?
Definitely! Every design is made better by real tester feedback, and we love involving people from all walks of life to remove bias from our data. Right at this moment I’ve paused on designing anything new; we have such a tiny team and we focus on only a few projects at a time. If you’re interested you can check out our Bhold Labs page and sign up for a future round of testing!