Knog advertising material, catalogue, stickers and poster, paper / plastic, Catalyst Design Group / Knog pty Ltd, Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 2008
The Frog bicycle light by Knog is an example of excellence in Australian product design. The Knog range of lights and accessories also represents an innovative business approach by an Australian industrial design company.
Small design consultancies find that their work flow varies wildly, depending on business cycles and chance. Melbourne firm Catalyst Design Group decided to break free from this dependence by designing and manufacturing its own proprietary brand, and indeed this led to more consistent work flow. The firm created Knog in 2002 as a brand with a fun and design-oriented image that would appeal to both recreational cyclists and bicycle commuters.
The firm received an Australian Design Award for the Frog light in 2005. The judges stated that "appropriate semantics, funky appeal and good material choice make this product innovative and complete. There is really little room for improvement" (Australian Design Awards Yearbook 2005). The Frog also received a Eurobike Silver iF Award in 2006.
The Frog quickly became the biggest selling Knog product, with more than a million sold around the world by 2007. The 'micro-light' is a single LED lamp in a flexible silicone body that allows it to be stretched around a handlebar, seat post or helmet. It is easily attached and removed. This innovative feature, combined with its unique form and its availability in a range of fashion colours, gave the product instant market appeal.
The Catalyst Design Group also won the Australian Design Award of the Year in 2007. By 2008 the company was selling more than 80 products, including lights, gloves, bags and bike luggage, in over 30 countries, and its designers were spending 60 per cent of their time working on Knog products.
The first dedicated Knog retail store opened in Melbourne's Chapel St in 2008, reflecting the status of Knog as a fashion and lifestyle brand. The Knog lights represent a wider trend of promoting design and lifestyle to create a new market for cycling products, as exemplified by designers such as Marc Newson and Ross Lovegrove designing for Danish bicycle company Biomega.
Designed by Catalyst Design Group and Knog Pty Ltd, Richmond, Melbourne, Vic, 2004. Made in China for Knog Pty Ltd, 2008.
In 2008 the Frog was available with white or red LEDs and operated in steady or flashing mode. It was available in twelve different body colours at a retail price of $19. The 2008 Knog catalogue advertised the Frog as a "single LED superbright microlight".
Knog products are designed by Hugo Davidson, Mal McKechnie, Craig Stevens, Joelene Tee, Libby Christmas, Chris Bilanenko, Paul Daniel and Michelle Muller at Catalyst Design Group, Australia. Catalyst Design Group was founded in 1989. Knog was established by Catalyst in 2002, and its first products were lights for the ends of bicycle handlebars and a range of bags. In 2006-2007 sales revenue for the brand almost quadrupled to $3.2 million. By 2008 the company had more than 80 products selling in over 30 countries.
The lights were donated to the Museum by Catalyst Design Group. They have not been used.
The Frog light received an Australian Design Award in 2005 and quickly became the biggest selling Knog product, with more than a million sold around the world by 2007. The judges in the 2005 Australian Design Awards commented on the Frog: "Appropriate semantics, funky appeal and good material choice make this product innovative and complete. There is really little room for improvement" (Australian Design Awards Yearbook 2005)
Over 190 products were entered in the Australian Design Awards in 2005. The judging panel recommended 49 of these products receive an Australian Design Mark and, of these, 20 products for an Australian Design Award. The products receiving the Australian Design Award were announced at a dinner and awards ceremony on 22 April 2005 at the Melbourne Museum.
The Frog also received a Silver IF Award for Eurobike in 2006.
McColl, G. (2007, September 3rd), 'Ride the fast track', IP Australia Designs Centenary website, retrieved 3rd October 2008 from http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/designscentenary/news/news_06.html