An old acquaintance in the mobile phone circle, Li Nan, the former senior vice president of Meizu, started his business after resigning. He established Nu Meow Technology in 2019, and then released the first batch of consumer electronics products in 2020, mainly based on customized keyboards and peripherals. host.
Numiao and Li Nan, who have successfully become well-known in the keyboard and table building circles, today supported their employee Stan to start a brand new brand: DRY STUDIO.
On Dry Studio’s official website dry—studio.com, it describes itself like this:
DRY STUDIO was established in Tokyo, Japan, and is managed by Angry Miao’s chief jewelry designer Stan.
In the in-house design of a single brand, it is difficult to take into account the more radical and diverse subcultural expressions that young people are concerned about today. And many talented creators in the global community, without the constraints of brand consistency, can burst out more pioneering, eye-catching and individualized designs.
For mass-produced products, the competition of parameter size and function is already very “dry”. Designers who better understand the needs of the new generation of consumers can more accurately subtract functions, but improve their scores in terms of experience and design. Products designed with this concept may be liked by young people and have the opportunity to maintain a reasonable price.
DRY STUDIO hopes to become a platform connecting global creators and diverse and innovative designs, jumping out of the shackles of a single brand design language, cooperating with more designers with pioneering vision, and striving to turn conceptual design schemes into reality. On the basis of ensuring personalized expression, ensure product experience; at the same time, in a more apporachable price range, make good design truly popular, and help young creators become familiar to the public.
▲ Li Nan, the former senior vice president of Meizu and the founder of Nu Meow, was also the chief writer of Ai Faner
Dry Studio, which has not yet released any works, is naturally accompanied by many questions. Why should such a sub-brand be established when Numiao is still in the stage of entrepreneurial growth? How is it different from Numeow? Behind it and the concept and background?
Taking these questions as a starting point, Ai Faner interviewed Li Nan, the founder of Nu Meow, and talked about new brands, young people, AIGC, hall design and street design, creativity and other topics. The following is the interview record.
Ai Faner: Without products, many people cannot understand a brand, especially a new brand like Dry Studio whose homepage only has a few hundred words. So, can you explain it in a language that everyone can understand? What does this brand or studio want to do?
Li Nan: We found a young jewelry designer, Stan, who likes Nishichao and 2D, so we want him to be the manager, and we will do it at Tokyo XJB. You can understand that this is a Generation Z, I like the brand that Nishichao messes with two-dimensional jewelry design players.
Make keyboards, desks, and other messy things.
Ai Faner: Why do you want to build a Dry Studio besides Numeow?
Li Nan: Nu Meow is a brand that pursues design consistency. For example, if an integrated process can solve a problem, we will not disassemble it. Some of our design style requirements have resulted in a lot of designs that we think are geniuses, but Nu Meow is not suitable for them. And this generation Z jewelry designer, and the trendy two-dimensional brand he manages, can be more OpenMind and more diverse.
In fact, we want to play more fancy, but Numiao does not allow us to play that fancy. Then look at young people. In fact, the aesthetics of the new generation of consumers has improved even more. When I was working on the Meilan brand, I firmly believed that the aesthetics of Generation Z consumers is better than that of the previous generation.
▲ Keyboard lover, the keyboard modified by the independent designer Fashou, he will cooperate with Dry Studio
Ai Faner: Compared with Numiao, what are the differences between Dry Studio’s models and products?
Li Nan: The first is Stan. He has always had his own ideas about young people’s keyboards, and the style is different, so it is impossible to use the brand of Nu Meow to release.
The second is that I actually know a lot of independent authors and young people in the keyboard circle, and the things they make out of themselves are also very good. These young independent authors need stronger brands to co-brand with them.
I think these independent designers of key rings have a characteristic, they have rich imagination and changeable styles. But their problem is that they have no engineering and technical experience, resulting in either performance problems, or functional problems, or mass production problems, or cost problems.
But I really respect these independent designers. They may have various resources and lack of ability, but their love for design and products surpasses 99% of TM professionals.
This group of people is true love, and the effort and energy they put into their products far surpasses the designers of the top manufacturers.
The group of people who came from a professional class are actually domesticated people. You can say that their things are good, but how good do you want their things to be? difficult. Those people are thinking about P7 this year and P8 next year, can I get a higher salary?
▲ The barb series co-branded by Nike and Travis Scott has several times the premium in the secondary market
Ai Faner: Is the independent designer of these key rings better at appearance design?
Li Nan: No, they are definitely good at experience, but they may be relatively wild.
I think the entire fashion industry has been turned upside down by Virgil Abloh, Travis Scott, and Kanye West. They are wild. But LV or Nike have matched them with a strong professional team, and when they put their things on the ground, they will rule the entire fashion industry.
I think the future is like this, to really love, right? Then those professionals should work for you.
There is a characteristic of the fashion industry. You will find a fashion designer like Matthew Williams who has a professional background. After he was transferred to Givenchy, he actually did not make a good performance.
But you can see that the creative directors appointed by LV have ranged from Virgil Abloh to Filipino directors. In addition, Travis Scott is a rapper, and Kanye is a musician. The creative directors of these big brands have begun to favor so-called artists, rather than Central Saint Martins with a professional background. This is a designer with a professional background in the art academy.
In addition, AIGC is constantly lowering the professional threshold, which is actually more equal in technology and profession, releasing the creativity of ordinary people, and then the final decision should be your love for this thing and your creativity, not the profession skills and professional training.
Ai Faner: What is the price range of Dry Studio’s first product?
Li Nan: It will definitely be cheaper than Numeow’s keyboard, but it will definitely not be as cheap as a mass-produced keyboard.
Ai Faner: Does Dry Studio have any supposed competitors?
Li Nan: ROG and other brands are moving from e-sports to customization, then we are from customization to e-sports, then you can say whether this competitor is e-sports or customization is a bit unclear, but the two sides are indeed moving together Walk.
Dry Studio’s first product is actually aimed at e-sports users. It may not be able to sell the peripherals of ROG Alien, but the product will not be worse than theirs.
▲ Line draft of Dry Studio’s first product
Ai Faner: Why are the first products of Numiao and Dry Studio keyboards? From the perspective of product design, is the keyboard an excellent carrier for functional ideas and design ideas to be displayed?
Li Nan: Because there are so many thoughtful young people in this circle, there are very few of them when you look at headphones.
And this circle is expanding, and only those who can play can have love, have circles, and only those circles can have these seeded players with design talents appear.
In fact, mobile phones actually have similar circles, but they are too unreliable. Because the engineering and technology of mobile phones are too deep, I can’t figure it out just by love. Relatively speaking, enthusiasts in the circle can quickly grasp the essence of the keyboard.
▲ The modified keyboard designed by Fashou is unique in material and design
Ai Faner: The design of the key ring is essentially a handicraft, not a real technical work?
Li Nan: No, there is no distinction between high and low products. A chair, designed by a master, can last forever, and a plastic bench is worth 5 yuan. No matter how simple a product is, it can achieve an extremely high height.
Mobile phones require too many professional skills, so many people who love mobile phones can’t touch the threshold, but they can easily touch the threshold of the keyboard. After I have been educated in these years, I am particularly opposed to the argument of elites. I find that the elites are not worth mentioning in front of the love of these people.
Many people who have not entered this industry or have not received professional training are talented in this industry. This talent is buried by the human education system, elite screening system, and seniority ranking structure, but socialization The circle of people has given these people new opportunities, just like the entire fashion industry has been controlled by those elites who graduated from the London School of Design for so many years, and it has begun to give way to Yeluzi artists.
This is equal rights in design. This is definitely the trend of street resistance against the temple. This trend started in the fashion industry and will happen in all industries in the future.
It means that the hero doesn’t ask where he came from, don’t TM give me a resume, but talk about things, you can tell whether something is good or bad at a glance.
Ai Faner: Why don’t you make mouse products until now? Is it because the mouse is an extremely difficult product to balance in terms of design and ergonomics compared to the keyboard?
Li Nan: No, it is definitely possible to make something that looks good and is easy to use, but the core of the mouse is the sensor. In fact, there is no difference. As long as I buy it without thinking, I will be done.
We can’t make a difference in the core technology, and we can’t take into account design expression and technology leadership. I think it’s not very meaningful to be a mouse. If I run out of money one day, I think it can be done, that is, just change the shell.
Ai Faner: What is the profit distribution between Dry Studio and independent designers? What is the screening, optimization, and implementation process after numerous design ideas?
Li Nan: When we see something good, or a personal author’s good, interesting things are often thrown in the group, and then everyone discusses it. If it is interesting, then Stan also thinks it is OK, and it is compatible with this brand, then we will superior.
The Dry Studio brand is originally a multi-faceted brand, so the compatibility is quite wide. Once decided, talk to the author about the sales profit share, or the one-time buyout. After these are done, we will bring the samples, redesign them, adjust various durability, reliability and mass production issues, and then match the better craftsmanship we have mastered, and try to find a way to really upgrade this product to commodity level.
▲ The average selling price of the Numeow keyboard is over 3,000 yuan
Ai Faner: Before seeing Numeow’s products, many people would say “Nan never cheats the poor”, but now Dry Studio says that its price will be more apporachable, do they “want to cheat the poor”?
Li Nan: Although Stan is a jewelry designer, he does not use the very expensive, high-risk and low-yield consumer electronics process because he is not familiar with it.
One of the problems of professionals is that their overall investment in the product is low. Then I have undergone systematic training, so I have a good understanding of the resources and foundation of the industrial chain. Just like shopping in a mall, they have forgotten what they want to buy and go directly to the most expensive store.
People like Stan who have never been to shopping malls know exactly what they are going to do. He has no idea about many expensive and cheap crafts, so I think the cost of this brand will not be too high.
▲ The source of inspiration for Dry Studio’s first keyboard product
Ai Faner: The design inspiration of many Nu Meow products comes from other works, such as Cybertruck, Love Death Machine, and Ghost in the Shell. This time, the first product of Dry Studio, BLACK DIAMOND, seems to be inspired by the Lamborghini sports car modified by Mansory. , is this straightforward source of inspiration a kind of original laziness?
Li Nan: Ever since Andy Warhol, “appropriation” has been the most commonly used method in contemporary art.
When your product is closer to art, “appropriation” will be more common, because today’s art is more worldly than it was back then.
Once you enter the WTO, you must reflect the cultural background of the contemporary people, and the contemporary people are strongly commercialized, so many things are all commodities. When the commodity and culture have been integrated in essence, you will definitely “appropriate” of.
For example, Marcel Duchamp, the pioneer of modern art, directly misappropriated an industrial product and made a work of art out of a urinal. This is the most typical misappropriation. Contemporary art must be appropriated, otherwise today’s contemporary art is all created out of thin air.
Ninety percent of those products and designers who don’t talk about inspiration either don’t understand or are dishonest. Then you said that there is no inspiration and no misappropriation of things in the Xiaomi ecological chain? Isn’t it the same as MUJI?
Ai Faner: You keep saying that the smartphone industry is over, the classical Internet industry is over, and the new trend is web3 and the latest AI. Does Numiao and Dry Studio have related product planning and use?
Li Nan: Many of our current products are produced by AIGC, and CyberBoard R4 also has AIGC designs.
The official website of Dry Studio is also made by AIGC, the logo is generated by Looka software, and the website copy is written by Notion AI.
Now it is really possible for one person to build a brand. In fact, one of my implicit requirements for Dry Studio is to have AI Force.
Ai Fan’er: It seems that AIGC has little relationship with Numiao and Dry Studio’s products?
Li Nan: The penetration of AI is really beyond your imagination. For example, when adjusting the lighting effect of the keyboard, the selection I make on the screen is slightly different from the effect of the actual RGB lamp beads on the keyboard, which is easy to understand, because the light emitting principles of the screen and the lamp beads are different. But our engineers asked ChatGPT when adjusting the lighting effect, and then ChatGPT gave a function. After the engineer called it, the lighting effect became more consistent. Do you think this has much to do with the product?
Ai Faner: I was chatting with people some time ago, and it was said that AI is likely to eliminate UI. To be precise, it is GUI. Language and dialogue are likely to become the main interactive entrance, instead of the current keyboard, mouse and touch screen. Let me make a bold guess. The direction of Apple Glass interaction iteration is likely to be voice-based. Will this new trend of hardware and software equipment affect the product planning of Numiao or Dry Studio?
Li Nan: In fact, what we are doing now is collectibles.
But we are not going against the trend, but embracing the trend. Our design is AIGC, and the code is AIGC. I look forward to 2030. 3D modeling can also be AIGC. We will definitely embrace the latest technology, but it does not mean that we cannot express Classic and classic.
For example, the Richard Mille watch, although it is a classic mechanical watch, it uses all the top materials and craftsmanship.
Some people still buy mechanical watches today. To tell the time, mobile phones are more accurate, but Richard Mille watches use the most advanced materials. We call it retro futurism.
We use the most advanced technology to create the most retro products, and then retain everyone’s last little thoughts on civilization and artistic heritage. It is true that only the very rich have this sentiment, and those without money are thinking about functionality, so Xiaomi will still be a very large company, but we can only do niche market.
Ai Faner: Since you want to break the industry’s very dry and boring design status, why not call it Wet Studio or something like that? Then, form follows function, and function comes first is the rule followed by many designers. If Dry Studio is not broken, what kind of design concept will it want to create?
Li Nan: I don’t know why Stan chose such a name. I don’t quite understand it, but I respect it. If I had a name, I probably wouldn’t have such an inexplicable name.
In terms of design, it is precisely because of the wild designer that he does not have that dogma when he comes up.
When Dieter Rams said that I can see the moon, the moon is NB’s thing, but you have to follow my arm to see, and the “function” is this arm. Now some people, they can see the moon naturally, they don’t need to follow their arms to see.
But when you equalize the design, you will find that some people are naturally talented. If Dieter Rams were alive today, he would not do what he did before. Dogma is not dead.
Classes, dogmas, and rules are not necessarily wrong. People like Travis Scott are NB, but there are only a few street gangs rampant in the fashion circle, and most of them are controlled by people with professional backgrounds. The former creative director of LV, Kim Jones, was born in a professional class, but he was the first to make the joint name of LV and Supreme, and he was the first one who really defected from the professional class to the street.
The most fearful thing is that there will be enemies within the camp, but we have to be rebels with professional background, and then support the gang on the street, combining the advantages of both sides.