Housewares Design Awards

2009 Best in Category: Home Organization, Laundry Care & Non-Electric Cleaning Products

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Oxo Good Grips MagTacks

The foundation of Oxo's design philosophy is universal design. That, to us, means designing products that are easy and comfortable to use for the largest spectrum of users possible,” said Alex Lee, president of Oxo. One of the first steps in Oxo's product development is to identify problems that consumers have with existing product and come up with design solutions, he said.

Oxo’s Good Grips MagTack, the design of which was submitted by designer Priscilla Barton, owner of Mezowest, fit Oxo's criteria because, said Lee, "it offers several different solutions for how people can hang things in their home space."

Barton said, "I love coming up with clever and, at the same time, simple solutions [to product design]. My design concepts have always stemmed from going through things in my regular routine and realizing that there is a better way to do it, or that more features needed to be added or something needs to be addressed."?

Barton's concept for the MagTack arose at design school when pinning up her work for critique; she said her work got ruined from the holes at the corners and she wanted to redesign a tack so that it wasn't detrimental to objects. The MagTack protects photos by securing them with magnets instead of piercing a hole through them.

One reason she approached Oxo was because, "Tacks are hard on your fingers and uncomfortable; I wanted to address that by using a soft material." Oxo's Good Grips' signature soft comfort grip proved a perfect fit.

Lee added, "I always say that all of the very successful Oxo products have that same "aha" moment when the user interacts with it. We try to design products with intriguing enough aesthetics that invite people to touch, feel, and play with them."

Barton said she also wanted a tack that would look more professional and aesthetically pleasing. Another design benefit is that the MagTack "covers more territory" on cork or magnetic boards because the user can hang up more than one item with the same tack using the magnetic portion. The final feature she considered is that the MagTack provides a safe solution for storing the sharp objects, as tacks can be stored securely in their caps when not in use, so users can keep their fingers safe.

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