Not For Him Or Her

Androgynous Design For Consumer Goods : Alex Owen

Designers and marketing teams use a variety of tactics to create product gender. Aspects such as Form, Texture, Materials, Colour, Product Names, Music, Sounds, Marketing Pitches and Typeface all play a role in segmenting products based upon gender. Yet some of most successful brands like Converse and Aēsop have made their mark by creating products that didn’t imply a gender and ended up being enjoyed equally by both men and women. When a product, object or article has aspects that represent both genders it can be defined as an Androgynous. Not all products can be made androgynously because some need to be tailored to fit the needs of the different sexes, yet there are a variety of products that don’t need to be styled by means of gender segregation. 

There are many reasons for why designing androgynously can be a very positive thing,

  • Products without a specific gender increases the chance of the item being reused because gender is not an influencing factor. For example children’s toys that are not gendered can be handed down regardless of the sex.       
  • Staying away from aspect that imply a particular gender in a product will mean that people are  free to express themselves as they wish, without feeling that they must act in a particular way.  
  • Removing gender styling from products cuts costs, reduces design time and increases logistics processing in transit and stores. 
  • Making one product and not two reduces energy consumption and preserves natural resources. Something as simple as removing segregated gender styling from shaving cream and razors would half the design time, increases production efficiency and still provide the same function.  

It’s important to conceder designing androgynously right at the beginning of a products ideation. Who you are designing for dictates the decisions that you make when producing a product.

When designing a product Ask yourself, 

  • Is it necessary that this product is gendered?
  • In gendering this product am I cutting out a large proportion of potential buyers? 
  • By producing one product with two stylings am I increasing production costs and using unnecessary resources?

Gendered Marketing - The Checkout (ABC Television)

The Checkout is an ABC television program that explores consumer behaviour and the influences of products and marketing. Packed with interesting information and presented with a refreshing dash of good humour this segment explains the history and current nature of product gender segregation.

Unnecessary Gendered Products – SoCassie a Youtube blogger and product reviewer goes on a trip to Target to find products that are unnecessary gendered. After collecting a bag full of stuff she goes home to see what the differences are. Her investigation finds that at the core of the products there are no differences, yet designers and marketing teams change the packaging, explanations and swap around colours in order to suit them to a target gender.


Aēsop is a skin hair and body wear producer that started in Melbourne in 1987. Since Aesop’s inception, they have maintained a fiercely independent approach to product research and development. A large amount of the business’s global successes can be attributed to the lack of gender in their production and marketing. In such a heavy segregated industry Aēsop has shown how successful androgynous design can be.


VEEA stocks androgynous sweaters, jumpers, jackets and shirts. The goal of this American Based design project was create an brand and online store that would produce clothes equally designed for both genders.