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When Dell approached Designworks to collaboratively create a marketing giveaway the obvious starting point was to analyse Dell’s product and brand DNA. Our award winning, in-house sculptors decided a robot character would fulfil the brief perfectly which formed the starting point for the creative process.

Next the designers and sculptors put pencil to paper and rapidly sketched out hundreds of different ideas. We selected our favourite concepts or features and developed them into more refined characters. The devil is in the details and to make sure that TBOT looked perfect we added in some final features and tested the functionality. 

From the outset we wanted the product to be something useful, to avoid it being discarded or gathering dust like so many other free giveaways. To keep it in plain sight throughout the day, we wanted it to be desktop, and what does almost everyone have out on their desk at work? Their smartphone. The final vinyl figure, named TBOT, holds a phone and charging cable at a perfect viewing angle, portrait or landscape. 

Upon final approval of the model, 3D data was issued to our Far East team for progression to wax masters, tooling, and pre-production sampling.  Roto-casting was employed to manufacture the TBOT, with colour detailing applied using pad printing and spray masking. Our ability to take care of manufacturing as well as design made the product development process seamless and far simpler for Dell. 

In order to maintain complete creative control over the process, we also created the packaging design for TBOT. Trends were analysed and concepts iterated before settling on simple line graphics printed onto exposed cardboard. This minimal design lets the receiver know exactly what they’re getting, whilst leaving enough intrigue to make them want to open it up right away!

The TBOTs which we manufactured were given away by Dell at the beginning of November. If you were lucky enough to receive one then please tweet a picture of your new desk buddy to @designworksblog tagged with #tbot. We’ve been having some fun animating our #TBOTs, check it out here!

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Working in collaboration with Dell we produced a range of marketing videos detailing our involvement in the design and production of the T-Bot promotional product.