Elton Clemente was the first Creative Director at Steam Whistle and his design work brought the Wall Mounted Opener idea to life.
We sat down with him to find out what he’s up to now and how a project like the Wall Mounted Opener develops from concept to store shelf.
1) Can you give us some background information on yourself?
So, early in my education, I became infatuated with how the digital space influenced the development of the Arts, and noticed there was this explosion of accessibility – the internet now made resources available to anyone, and a lot of entrepreneurs were gathering the courage to start their own business, and launch their own ideas. I later graduated from the Creative Advertising Program at Seneca College @ York, which was an amazing program. Ever since the very first day of orientation I knew I wanted to work in the industry and start my own Design company. I fell in love with the creative ideas and artwork in the Advertising and Branding world and made it my mission to work with entrepreneurs in launching great products with great artwork. My first job out of school was as a Designer at SWB, where I was able to grow along with the brand. An experience that really shaped my future. In 2014, my business partner Sean Zaffino and I started Blacksmith Design Co. Ltd. here in Toronto, working closely with our clients in building strong brands.
2) What were some of your favorite projects at Steam Whistle?
Everyone works so damn hard these days, I truly believe that people need to spend more time enjoying themselves – and sometimes people need to be reminded to spend more time enjoying themselves. So for me at Steam Whistle, anytime the project revolved around creating a bottle opener, it was the chance to offer the ultimate helping hand at the end of a long work day – crack a freshie and kick the feet up. Working on designs that communicate that message to the consumer just gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.
3) How did the idea of The Wall Mounted Opener come to be?
The team had always toyed with the idea of offering a custom designed Wall Mounted Opener to consumers, and one day the idea crossed my desk. We were wondering as a team, what would Steam Whistle’s version look like? How do we build a real connection? Really, I think the core idea was about spending quality time with the consumer, sharing something more personal – a timepiece that sticks by your side and offers a helping hand in cracking that reward you earned today.
4) What did the development process look like?
The design process was very organic. I was new, the project was a new idea. So I started with research: I spent countless hours pacing the brewery, taking reference pictures, talking to staff and customers taking the tour, trying to find the right piece of this company that I could reflect in a bottle opener. The Design concept came out of a feeling I had during a conversation about the SW Vintage Vehicles: i wish I could just bring one of these vehicles home with me! They were shiny, strong, and each had their own personality. This is the core feeling I wanted to communicate with the Design of the SWB Wall Mounted Opener. From there, it was a case of Form follows Function: working backwards from how many bottle caps it should store, the size of the cap-catcher was determined, then the distance necessary to the opener to properly open a bottle – we could then start visual designs of how to include all of these into one cohesive piece. The green metal backing formed to mimic the curves and details in the vehicles, the cap catcher modeled after the car grills, and the use of clean, crisp chrome with the SW bright, vibrant green.
5) How many takes to get the project just right?
Really hard to say, something like this becomes a full-team-effort. ultimately I think that the visual influence from the Vintage Vehicle fleet never really changed from that initial concept. Although I’m sure there were dozens of iterations trying to nail the details and sizing.
6) Where is your Wall Mounted Opener situated? (Home/Office/Cottage)
I think I got my hands on one of the very first openers off the line. I have that one at home on the fridge and we have 2 side-by-side here at the Blacksmith office (to help cut down on wait times).
You can view more of Elton’s work at Blacksmith Design Co.
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