Why Should Red Cross Emergency Gear Look So Sexy?

If the beauty was just skin deep, the American Red Cross wouldn’t have put their brand on Eton’s Turbodyne series.
During a blackout, earthquake, or other scary emergency, aesthetics are likely to be the last thing on your mind. But that doesn’t mean they don’t still serve an important purpose, as Eton’s Turbodyne series of American Red Cross-branded emergency gear shows. Designed by Whipsaw, this gear is to getting out of a jam what the iPod is to pumping out the jams: form married to function in the best possible way. The industrial design of the Turbodyne set was meant “to be more emotional and more appealing than the typical emergency tool, so that people wanted to own them and use them on a regular basis, even when [there is] no emergency,” Whipsaw president Dan Harden tells Co.Design. Indeed, these look more like designer toys than dependable tools at first glance. But that emotional appeal has a serious purpose, Harden explains: “Pride of ownership also means they will more likely be out and ready for use instead of being relegated to the basement or the emergency kit.” “On emergency products, non-ornamental and informative aesthetics can play an important functional and human factors role,” Harden continues. “Bold forms, expressive details and high contrast colors can express function and operation so clearly that it takes no thought to find and use the product – which is of course good in an emergency when you just can’t think.” For additional information on the products in this series, or to make a purchase, go to the American Red Cross store. (Excerpted from an article by John Pavlus; originally printed by Fast Company Design at http://www.fastcodesign.com/)

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