Progress is a Process.

Theres never been a time in history like the one in which we currently live - at this exact moment, its easier and cheaper than ever to go from idea to execution. And even more so, to test the waters via social media with a not-yet-finished product and immediately get the feedback of millions… either validating or killing the concept almost instantaneously, en masse. 

This wasn’t always the case, however. 

The objects we covet today often started out looking wildly different than the pieces we know and love - and the design process would often last years before the first version ever reached an audience. 

In this installment of Shiny Thing$, we take a quick look at the pre-launch concepts of some of the most important collectibles in history.

Progress is a Process… 

The Lamborghini Countach, 1971

The lines and angles of the Lamborghini Countach make it immediately recognizable. The original version conceptualized by Italian design house Bertone and revealed at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, however, was a much “smoother” version of the groundbreaking supercar than the one we are all familiar with today. The name itself is actually a Piemontese expletive that loosely translates to ‘what the f… is that?’ - which was the intial reaction of many.

Super Mario, 1981

During their 2015 E3 Conference presentation, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto and designer Takashi Tezuka showed the crowd some early sketches of Nintendo’s most famous personality and the hand-drawn graph paper layouts used for the levels in the first release of Suoper Mario Bros. in 1985. The early designs, while rudimentary, still hold a strong connection to the current iteration, even in today’s more advanced 3D gameplay.  

The Jordan XI, 1994

One of the most outlandish and most important shoe designs of all time... The earliest versions sketched by prolific Nike designer Tinker Hatfield were actually much more tame than the final product, with the sneaker’s signature patent leather officially being added later in the design process. Multiple game-worn Jordan XIs can be found in the list of the most expensive sneakers ever sold, including a pair of playoff worn XI’s included in Sotheby’s recent $8M six-sneaker sale.

Apple iPhone, 2000-2006

The goal was always to make the iPhone look more like art than a standard phone. Many of the earliest sketches look remarkably different from the final product we all know today, but one piece that got a lot of attention was the core element that separated the iPhone from the incumbents: the Home button. iPhone designer Christopher Stringer and Jony Ive said up to 100 designs were created just trying to make the home button “beautiful.”

The Mona Lisa, 1503

The Mona Lisa is a likely a portrait of the wife of a Florentine merchant, but for some reason was never delivered and remained in da Vinci’s possession. In the nearly 5 centuries since the Mona Lisa was first put on display, multiple copies of the Mona Lisa have been discovered, including an original copy that was likely painted by another apprentice artist who may have sat beside Leonardo working on the same piece, likely painting his last stroke prior to DaVinci’s completion. That piece now sits in the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid.

The Great Gatsby, 1924

Francis Cugat’s iconic “Celestial Eyes” painting of a disembodied face floating above a New York night is probably the most famous book cover in all of American literature. It was so iconic, that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the image into the book after seeing it. The eyes hovering over the city are one of the elements that tie it all together within the story, and was updated from the original sketches which put the entire scene in a desert. 

Everything starts somewhere.

Until Next Week...