Alternate Aesthetics for Mood Rings

Here is a link to my previous post to provide context for this toy.

For my main project, I would really like to pursue the Kawaii aesthetic once again. I think this aesthetic really meshes well with the idea I have for the project, since the overly exaggerated facial expressions of these types of characters portrays the mood you are in very clearly, but in a playful manner.

To go into more detail of how I will be displaying each of the moods, there will be cut-out slots in the ring to hold various buttons, that can easily be pushed in around the circumference of the rings. Below is a picture of some example buttons I’ve made, with roughly the same dimensions I’ll be aiming for in this project.

Here are some more examples of facial expressions that I would like to include, that match the kawaii aesthetic.

For the rings themselves, I will either paint them soft, Easter-like colors, or laser engrave some simplistic, cute designs of “hand-drawn” flowers. A combination of both could be a possible route as well, since lighter colors tend to not hide the detail the laser engraver can achieve.

A very opposite aesthetic I could think of was goth. Although it would not really bode well with the spirit of the toy considering the typically uniform, angsty/unflappable nature of the goth aesthetic, it could be cool to simply incorporate different designs that fit.

The rings in this case would just as dark a black as I could get, with bones and pentagrams and other general sort of witchcraft vibe elements engraved on them as well. I could also add spikes/studs to the perimeter of the rings, and the center of the overall structure as well. Ideally it would be almost dangerous or scary to touch.

A final aesthetic I considered was realism. Realism feels to be a somewhat opposite aesthetic to Kawaii because of the lack of supernormal stimuli we recently discussed. The high detail and accurate portrayals of figures would do a great job of portraying the mood you’re in, but I do think it could be a bit off-putting. I do think this could lend a comedic element to the toy, however. Having a pissed off Hugh Jackman’s face on your desk would help lighten the mood despite how you’re feeling, in my opinion.

This toy has a ton of potential avenues, and I really think you could make any aesthetic work with it. Since my preferred drawing style falls in the Kawaii realm, I will continue down that path, as it’s what appeals to me most. I think it will also have a wider appeal to the general population than the other two aesthetics, which would hopefully imply a more successful toy.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi, Thomas,

    This is a really interesting idea. Something fun that you may consider is to combine the goth and kawaii style. I’m kind of confused on how you would present the final project, since in the previous post, it seems like you wanted to make something that you can rotate with to change the expression; while in this post, from looking at the prototype, it seems like the ring and the expressions/ pins are separate from one another and has to be physically take part and re-insert onto the pre-cut slot. I think your previous idea of make it rotatable is super cool, although I’m not how difficult it would be to create it.

    Anyway, good luck with your project!


    • Thomas Buckholtz
      March 2, 2020 12:06 pm

      Hi Xiang,

      Sorry for the confusion, I see how that is unclear now. The buttons will be set around the perimeter of the rings, in slots cut for a press-fit. So there will still be options that can rotate around the perimeter of each ring, the buttons are just how I’ve chosen to incorporate the designs into the ring. I will be sure to add more detailed sketches in my upcoming blog post to better illustrate what I have in mind. Basically, the rings are holders for displays, and the buttons are the displays for the different headwear and facial expressions.

      I do really like the idea of combining aesthetics – I am considering building two versions of this toy in parallel, and I think it could be cool to do different iterations of the same combo. For example, do a Kawaii-goth aesthetic where the soft colors are dominant, and another where blacks/greyscale are dominant.


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