Mass customization is here and growing steadily. Product customization has always existed with a choice of colours, sizes, materials etc but the cost kept it out of most people’s reach. Now with new technologies in software, logistics, manufacturing and of course the web the custom market is growing.
With the commercialization of 3D printing we have seen a wave of new customizable products, for example Normal who makes custom fit ear phones, that’s ear phones that fit to your ear and only your ear. Going to the other end of the body you have SOLS custom shoe insoles tailored to each person, recently the company also received $11 million dollars investment to expand their custom service. Customization through 3D printing has also found its way into prosthetics, Bespoke Innovations brought style to prosthetics by customizing the form to fit the user better as well as creating beautiful designs resulting in a radical shift in the prosthetic industry.
Lets not forget 3D printings twin, 3D modeling software. 3D modeling allowed companies to create high end e-commerce experiences. Nike iD the online custom shoe interface by Nike was launched in 1999 and is a great way to customize your own shoes online and see the results instantly. Upperstreet a shoe design studio also uses a 3D model interface which allows users to create individualized high end women’s shoes.
With new online tools becoming available such as Twikit that allows businesses and designers to offer customers a platform to customize and print a base design is an exciting way forward to express individuality and functionality.