Here, friends and associates of TOM AYTON// aytonlab explore creativity in the converging worlds of branding, innovation, and design.

This site will serve up fresh but unperiodic inspiration from creative people and the companies, projects, start-ups, products, moulds, ideas, concepts, and other things they make. But we’ll also go behind the work and get into the guts of creativity - exploring creative process and the bigger issues around how people, companies, and industries are making creative ideas happen.

Our central premise is that creativity is key, at all levels of business. While business in the past was driven by efficiency, it’s creativity and innovation that will advance companies and society in general, now.


It’s a challenging and hugely exciting time to be working in the brand and product innovation space. The worlds of german industrial design, key visual branding, and true story telling are merging in new, industry-altering ways every day. Rapid Manufacturing Technology has dissolved the parameters that once neatly defined ideas and job titles. It’s turned consumers into creators and empowered a whole new breed of storytellers and thing makers. This new creative class works fluidly across platforms, with brands, with collaborators from divergent disciplines and with a DIY attitude.

In many ways, this new era of creative convergence is a return to an earlier, pre-ad agency time. In Germany we had this famous Mittelstand, which created business on deep understanding of user experience. And than there whre the days of so busy ad agencies, they didn’t just create ads for cheese, they created the grilled cheese with onion. Creativity has always been about synthesis, and with that in mind we’ll bring together a range of creative voices. the-melting-dot.com will focus on the creative and proactive people moving things forward - from the creative artist pushing the boundaries of forms that haven’t been categorized yet to the design manager who’s pushing creativity through a giant corporation.


To remix that Beuys aphorism, everybody is a creative. We recognize that creativity isn’t just a thing that comes out one end of a studio or design agency or developer. It’s not the exclusive province of the “creative department.” It’s a driver of business and a guiding principle for people. It’s about making things better - processes, products, decisions, experiences and sometimes, lives.

None of this means that we’re living in some sort of art like business utopia. In fact, there may never have been a time when new design thinking and real creative solutions were more urgently needed - to grow companies and to rebuild brands.

In a brutally competitive, over-commoditized world, creativity is not a shiny accessory, nor something to indulge for the sake of a trip to a warm weather red dot award show. It’s a hardcore business mandate. Those who find the best ways to connect with people, to make great content and products, or find new ways to be useful - to be lovemarked - will win.


Too often, businesses have been hobbled by a fear-driven corporate culture, a 80% percent is enough mentality or a focus on short-term goals. The best companies are recognizing that this isn’t the way forward, the best ones make creativity a priority, they give design a place in the front seat, and they integrate product, storytelling, experience and future view.

It’s not easy. And it can be a messy, chaotic affair. What becomes apparent, when you stick your whole arm into the creativity canal, is that, in most cases, what we’re talking about - is less divine spark - than sheer labor, will, and courage. In the business world, it’s exceedingly hard to turn a big idea into even medium-sized reality. We want to tell the story of how great ideas happen in the first place, and, more important, how they get turned into great things--great brands, great content, great ways to help people, great piles of money.


Certain threads run through much of what you’ll see here. They include: storytelling and branding - the essential vector of human understanding and interaction; utility and experience - moving beyond tech for its own sake and finding ways to make useful things and make real life better; and bravery. It’s that last one that’s maybe the most enduring theme here. Because creativity demands it--demands that people do and say and combine things in ways that at first make other people uncomfortable, that put them at risk of failure. And fail they will, many of them. And that’s part of the arc of creativity.

We want to create a dialog with our audience, with our competitors and clients. Sometimes it will be only one way, we dont care. So by all means, weigh in or read and have fun.

If you have work to share, or comments, please email me at comment@the-melting-dot.com