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Brief Published: 16 Jul 2018

Simple Design Tweaks Give Plugs New Commercial Potential

L-R: Will de Brett, Kim So Young & Jo Sung Ick

As new technology emerges, designers are reconsidering everyday household items – creating innovative updates that offer improved functionality and respond to shifting consumer habits. Here, we explore two projects that illustrate how a simple design tweak to a conventional electrical plug can have an impact on practicality and user experience.

Mi Plug is a creative redesign from Northumbria University student Will de Brett. It is a circular device encased in plastic with a flat surface that is indented inwards on the top and outwards on the underside – and the plug doesn’t include the metal prongs traditionally inserted into a socket. Instead, the plug features an internal magnet that jumps into position and sticks to the receiver, which has a corresponding circular indent.

The magnetic tessellating shape allows multiple plugs to be stacked onto one another, simultaneously connecting several appliances to electricity without the use of excessive power points. It is also easier to use for people with limited mobility and eyesight.

The use of magnetism is also explored in the Ball-Tab extension cord by Korean designers Kim So Young and Jo Sung Ick. The extension cord features four round indented sockets with a magnet at each base to hold a spherical receiver. This allows the receiver to swivel in the direction of the appliance, reducing bends in cables and avoiding potential damage. 

A thin light is embedded around the rim of the receiver to clearly indicate when it is in use, and each sphere can be turned upside down and safely tucked away so it doesn’t gather dust when not in use.

By refreshing everyday products, brands can unveil new creative and commercial opportunities. See, Redesigning the Everyday: Retuning Daily Habits for how design is elevating mundane utilities into covetable must-haves.