With the range of tablets, smartphones, and e-readers released in the last few years, we have an incredible array of technology at our fingertips. These products offer exceptional versatility and functionality, but they’re not always easy to use. The iPad, for example, can be used for everything from buying groceries to composing year-end reports, but it can sometimes be difficult to read and awkward to properly position. Many accessories have emerged to fix this problem, however, they are often poorly designed and unnecessarily complex. They have been designed primarily according to function, with a focus on “getting the job done,” rather than with an eye towards integrating seamlessly into consumers’ lives.
Recognizing the opportunity to do something different, Chris Michaud, previously the COO at Continuum, had a clear vision:
Create a tech accessories company that would resonate with people’s lifestyles.
That meant combining simple design and superior functionality with a fun personality that would make technology more enjoyable. He already had the name: Felix. The Latin word for “happy,” the name also implied a friendly, personable identity for the company. But the challenge was, in order to stand out in such a crowded market, every aspect of the experience would need to be exceptional and consistently delivered.
Enter Continuum. Based on his previous experience with Continuum, Michaud knew it had the integrated design expertise to create a holistic consumer experience. Starting with Michaud’s original vision, the team got to work, defining three pillars of the brand: form, function, and fun. They worked to infuse those elements into every aspect of the brand, from products to website to packaging to copy to visual tone. It was even integrated it into product testing; Felix vets designs with something called the “Smile Test,” which gauges a design based on whether someone smiled within the first few moments of being introduced to a Felix product.
With the international rollout of the company’s first two products, the original vision has become a reality. MonkeyDo is an iPad stand in the form of a cheeky monkey. The stand has a playful spirit, but its simple design is also very functional, with a firm base and bendable arms so users can position the pad the way they like it. Another tablet stand, called TwoHands, has a similarly efficient design, with a simple butterfly clip that holds the pad upright and can be easily tilted up and down to adjust to desired viewing angle. While the product leverages a very straight-forward functional design, small “hands” were added to the end holding the tablet, thus giving the user an “extra set of hands” and hopefully a smile while using their tablet.
The two products were launched this November, and are currently available in stores at Staples in the US, Canada and the UK, as well as online through Staples.com, Amazon.com, and MeetFelix.com. Stars Entertainment named TwoHands and MonkeyDo as two of the Top 7 Products at CES 2013 You May Need.
Felix is currently working with Continuum on developing a dozen new products slated to launch next year, including phone cases, tablet cases, and a tablet keyboard all designed to make technology a little bit easier to use and a little bit more fun.