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The politics of office-desk water bottles

Look around you. Is there anyone in your office who doesn’t have a water bottle on their office desk?



We all seem to have developed deep anxiety around finding ways to flag who we are to the world. Along with Facebook, Instagram, RSVP and Tinder, maybe the designer bottle is a scream for recognition of individuality in an increasingly anonymous world.


It’s not being driven by the ‘2L of water a day’ message (or is that now 3L or 4L.. enough to leave me feeling like a waterbed mattress each afternoon anyway). Water bottles are a microcosm of archetype driven market segmentation.


There’s the office 'Hero' with a purposeful, determined, aerodynamic water bottle with either a Nike logo or a shape reminiscent of the Batmobile.


There’s the 'Jester' with the funky hipster beard design bottle.


Someone is always the 'Caregiver', protecting the planet with a water bottle made from recycled timber, rainforest sunshine and polar bear breath.


And every office has a 'Magician', trying to transform the mood with a Disney ‘Frozen’ or ‘Cars’ bottle (they pretend it’s ironic but we know…)


But as a design professional I can’t help but be impressed by the dedication to design shown in this market. Some of it is simply stunning. Maybe we should go into designing water bottles full time…

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