The idea to make an updating weather poster first came to Oli Woods, the Melbourne-based designer behind product design company Typified, when he was having lunch with his parents. "We were all in the kitchen, chatting and enjoying the company when the topic of 'the weather' came up," he says. "Seconds later, we were all on our phones, and the moment had gone, our attention had shifted from the real world to our screens and then stayed there."
Determined to find a way of integrating connected products into our lives in a simpler, less intrusive way, Woods created the Weather Poster, a screen printed, framed poster that looks like an art print but works behind the scenes via a small computer and smart ink to reflect changes in the day's weather. Simply put: As the weather forecast changes, so does the ink on the paper.
The poster has a tiny computer that connects to a home's Wi-Fi network to pull in information about the current weather. Smart ink is any ink that's been engineered at a chemical level to change color in response to a certain stimulus. "Our new technology allows the tiny computer to interface with the smart ink, explains Woods. "We don't think the internet has ever been expressed through paper and ink in this way."
The icons show the weather at 8am, 12pm, 4pm and 8pm only for one day. The different weather types are represented by three symbols: rainy, cloudy or sunny—just what you need to pick the right outfit for the day. If the forecast for the afternoon changes, the poster will update as necessary. (The icons take anywhere from five to 15 minutes to update.)
Sure, your weather app would provide a lot more nuanced information, but the Weather Poster employs a simple approach on purpose. "We think there is a place for less attention-demanding products which just take care of one important task in an ultra convenient way, whilst also adding to the look and feel of your home or workplace," Woods notes.
The Poster was conceived to be equal parts art and technology. The screenprinting process gives it rich colors and tiny imperfections that make each print unique. For people who suffer from the opposite problem of forgetting to check the weather, having a gorgeous print by your front door might be just the thing that makes you look.
The first edition and future designs will all be limited print runs of only 500 editions. "We will have 5 very similar designs per series, before changing the visual theme entirely for the subsequent series," Woods explains.
After a successful 143% funded Kickstarter campaign, Typified is still taking pre-orders on Indiegogo.