In mid-2010, mono redesigned Blu Dot’s Web site to incorporate e-commerce; in 2011, the Swap Meet was designed as a way for more people to engage with the products online (by temporarily removing cost barriers).

Inspired by the auction utility of eBay and the downright oddity of Craigslist, Blu Dot Swap Meet was an online community auction for creative types who love modern design, but who may not be able to afford modern furniture. Born from the company’s mission to bring good design to as many people as possible, it celebrates creative currency by enabling people to barter their interesting, funny, artistic and/or quirky goods for anything that Blu Dot sells.

The swap meet opened on February 28 and accepted bids until midnight March 11. During the live auction period, bidders posted their offers to the site and Blu Dot reviewed and hand-selected bids to swap for one Blu Dot piece of the bidder’s choice. Physical swaps could take place in person or online and once bids became
actual swaps, bidders were cleared to receive their Blu Dot piece (in order for furniture swaps to take place, bidders had to hold up their end of the bargain). Although the voting public could “like” their favorite bids, “liking” did not determine or affect Blu Dot’s decision on what were acceptable swaps.

The Blu Dot Swap Meet encouraged some interesting, funny, artistic, and/or quirky bids, such as: popsicle stick forts, skywriting, song-singing, offerings of odd collections, performance art and stupid human tricks.

• It took approximately two months to concept the overall project and one month to produce the site.

• The navigation was kept as simple as possible so people could easily upload and surf bids—allowing for maximum time wasteability.

• A single  page hosts the 1,000 user-submitted bids, ranking them based on “likes” and categorized by accepted, popular, newest and random (a commentary feature sparked some colorful interaction).

• Twitter and Facebook were vital components to enabling people to promote their bids, and in turn, promote the swap meet. By its second day, the swap meet was the #2 trending topic in Minneapolis (behind, ironically, “budget deficit”).

• Some swaps were filmed for additional Web content.

• Blu Dot actually built its business on bartering: The Blu Dot logo was designed in exchange for a custom tree house.

Communication Arts

// From our friends at Communication Arts

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