Variations on normal by Dominic Wilcox

Get more attention on your engagement ring
June 10, 2014, 9:12 am
Filed under: Drawings

side signage ring by Dominic Wilcox

Yes you’re engaged, yes you have a beautiful ring, but there are still people walking by you without noticing it. How can this be? Are they blind? Obviously some people need an extra clue as to where to look. Here is the solution, ‘Side signage rings to bring more attention to your engagement ring’.


My book ‘Variations on Normal’ will be out on August 21st, full of absurd yet logical invention drawings like the one above. More details here.


The Ages of Modern Man

The Ages of Modern Man

Here’s a drawing I did called ‘The Ages of Modern Man’. I have to say that I have an uncomfortable relationship with the screen. I look at one most days but it feels so old fashioned. In the future I can’t believe we will be still staring at the internet through a glowing rectangle.

Beyond the Google Glass experiments, the advanced contact lens with dynamic text and images overlaid on whatever we look at seems inevitable at some point in the future. A blink to click, a slight finger flick to scroll. Beyond that, integrating brain boosting technology implants will arrive. My first reaction is to think I wouldn’t want to get something attached to my brain, but if it enabled you to speak 10 languages, communicate thoughts with fellow brain implanters and remember people’s names at parties, then there will be inevitable demand.

gps name rememberer
date online video invention

See my GPS embedded ‘No Place Like Home’ shoes here
My inventions book ‘Variations on Normal’ will be out on August 21st, you can sign up here to be notified when it is available to buy if you are interested.

Using snoring to stop snoring
April 8, 2014, 6:23 pm
Filed under: Drawings | Tags: ,

snoring solution

For those kept awake by their snoring partner I have come up with this idea. This device dramatically increases the volume of the snorer’s own snores using a microphone and headphone combination. As soon as the snorer starts snoring they wake up from hearing the loud noise.

My new book of inventions is coming out in August, details here.

Reverse telephone invention: A constant ringer
April 2, 2014, 1:06 pm
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reverse telephone by Dominic Wilcox

Here is my idea to make a simple alteration to the household or mobile telephone. This telephone continually rings when not in use, only when you receive a call will it fall silent.

When I first moved into a flat long ago it appeared to be quite noisy due to the traffic outside, but after a week or so I got used to it. I assume this would also be the case with my new telephone.

My new book of inventions is coming out in August, details here.

Screw in Shoe Table Combo
March 19, 2014, 10:20 am
Filed under: Drawings | Tags: , , , ,

screw in shoe table combo

Let’s make use of that upper area of the shoe. There must be loads of things we could screw into it. Here’s my everyday choice, a portable table that I can screw into my shoe whenever I need a flat surface.

My new book of inventions is coming out in August, details here.

Fly down warning device
March 7, 2014, 2:05 pm
Filed under: Drawings | Tags: , , ,

Fly down warning device
I’ve just about finished my book of invention drawings that will come out in August. Here’s a new idea, don’t you hate it when you forget to zip up your fly? Well those days are gone with my new warning device invention. It’s easy to attach and is rechargeable via USB.

Variations on Normal book to be published!
January 22, 2014, 3:46 pm
Filed under: Drawings

variations on normal by Dominic Wilcox

I’m very excited to announce that I signed a book deal with Square Peg (Random House) for a hardback edition of my book ‘Variations on Normal’ with even more ideas. The book will contain over a hundred (around 125) invention drawings that are perhaps absurd and odd but also have some strange logic to  them.

In 2012 I self published 1000 books of my drawings and in a couple of month I had sold them. Earlier this year I made contact with Square Peg who wanted to publish a bigger edition with even more inventions in and sell distribute them far and wide. I took a few seconds to think (1.2) and now I’m happy to say it will be published on 21st August 2014.

If you would like me to send you an email when it does come out in order to buy please visit here and enter your email. Many thanks Dominic.

‘Dominic Wilcox’s drawings aren’t just witty and beautifully drawn, they are serious challenges to the real world to keep looking at itself with innocent eyes, wondering what else is possible.’

Thomas Heatherwick,
Designer, architect, creator of the 2012 olympic cauldron amongst other brilliant things.

Some of my invention drawings that will be in the book below. (lots of new ones included in the new edition as well)


Window of ideas for the Selfridges ‘Festival of Imagination’.
January 14, 2014, 11:46 am
Filed under: design, Drawings, ideas | Tags: ,

selfridges window Dominic Wilcox

I was asked by London’s famous Selfridges department store to fill a window with my ideas and inventions for their Festival of Imagination. Over the course of two months I set about thinking up and making fourteen different objects with a plan to create something that reflected my sketchbook pages. Instead of drawing the ideas, I have made them real, but kept the handwritten descriptions and arrows all hanging from wire.  The window is open for 6 weeks so have a look if you are passing, I titled it ‘Variations on Normal’. There are so many photos and ideas to show and talk about that I will reveal the new objects each day over the next week or so rather than in one big lump.

I hung the window over four nights, we were all allowed in the shop from 9.30pm till 6am so it was very tiring.

Keep checking back each day to see the objects I came up with and pictures of me using them around town.





window before

Me in the window at the beginning thinking ‘why didn’t I come up with something simpler’ (which is a common thought for nearly every project I do).

Fingerprint activated, no waiting, pedestrian crossing
September 24, 2013, 9:33 am
Filed under: Drawings | Tags: , , , ,

I read an article recently on the BBC about whether or not pressing the pedestrian crossing button actually does anything. It turns out that quite a few do nothing at all to effect the time it takes for the green man to show. Sometimes the wait can be up to two minutes, think of all the things we could have done in all those minutes spent waiting to cross.

With the arrival of the iPhone 5s and it’s fingerprint reader button on my mind, I waited to cross the road a few weeks ago. A thought occurred to me as I pressed the pedestrian crossing button. What if I could pay money to speed up or remove the waiting time altogether? In fact if the button was also a fingerprint reader then it could be linked to an online account that is set up as Pay-as-you-press. Each press instantly (or as quickly as is safe) changes the red man to green and £0.40 is deducted from my account. For £0.70 you can also choose your own tune to cross the road to.

I went out on to the streets of London to test the system, listen here to find out how it went…

Fingerprint activated instant pedestrian crossing

The Quick Cross fingerprint reader pedestrian crossing button.

fingerprint pedestrian crossing

Here I designed an app for signing up to the Quick Cross system.
Quick cross road pedestrian crossing

BBC article about pedestrian crossing.

UPDATE: the BBC picked up on this post, at the bottom of this page…

Lift and drop inventions
July 23, 2013, 1:16 pm
Filed under: Drawings | Tags:

Hello old friends and new people. I’ve got a bit of news, I’ve completely redesigned my main project website, it’s got big images, videos and more content, check it out, spread the word.

A long time ago I read the whole dictionary onto tapes (yes that long ago). I actually read two dictionaries, a mini dictionary and then a larger Collins one. The idea started out as part of a ‘Dominic Wilcox impersonation Kit’. A black leather case with brass engraved front held inside a copy of my clothes and shoes, a Wilcox handwriting copying kit and some tapes which started with me saying ‘Listen and repeat, aardvark…’ so you could copy my accent. I later separated out the dictionary reading to a single piece of work. Here is a sample
Pictures on my website here.

I’m going to start putting some more of my invention drawing up on this blog again. I printed 1000 copies of the first edition of my book Variations on Normal but they sold out. The book will be republished in future, can’t say more than that now but it’s quite exciting. (Email to be notified on the next edition)

I think I worked out how to lift heavy weights using this pulley system. The added weight at the back helps make lifting at the front easy.

lift helper

I once was at a photo shoot and the photographer answered his phone and I thought I’d help by holding his camera. Unfortunately the lens wasn’t attached properly and I just saw it fall to the ground in slow motion. Being a cool dude he continued his conversation as though nothing happened. It was costly though.

wrist net

Come back soon for more sketched ideas soon.

oh and I’ll be talking at this interesting event in Brighton,

Sound Matters
June 4, 2013, 12:25 pm
Filed under: Drawings


I’m collaborating with sound artist Yuri Suzuki in a new travelling show called Sound Matters by the Crafts Council UK. Last year I was commissioned by Create 2012 to make a souvenir of East London. I made a vinyl record capturing the sounds of 21 makers in the area at work. From a shoe maker tapping his hammer to the sound of making beigels on Brick Lane. I’ve always liked the idea of creating something and handing it on to another person to find inspiration from it and create something new. I gave my ‘Sounds of Making in East London’ vinyl record to Yuri and asked him if he could create something new from it. I admire Yuri’s work and he has a studio within East London so it continued my record idea of highlighting the large amount of creative makers in the area.

Yuri made what he calls ‘Sounds of Making in East London: Remix Edition’. He took very short loop samples from each of my record’s tracks, then put them all onto a vinyl record (looped grooves). He created 5 movable stylus needles so you can place the 5 needles onto the record at any position to create a form of endless rhythmic music from the sounds of making.

Sounds of Making

See the Sound Matters website here
There are audio interviews with all the artists to listen to.

The show will tour around Scotland initially.

Iona Gallery, Kingussie, Scotland , 1 June – 30 June 2013

St Fergus Gallery, Wick, Scotland , 6 July – 3 August 2013

Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, Inverness, Scotland , 10 August – 7 September 2013

Sound Bulbs
May 22, 2013, 3:53 pm
Filed under: Drawings | Tags: ,


I’ve created what I call ‘Sound Bulbs’ that combine a light bulb connector with music players so that it’s possible to screw in your music player into any light bulb socket. I was invited to take part in an exhibition during Clerkenwell Design Week called Design Exquis. The idea of the exhibition was a little like the game of Chinese whispers in that a first designer/artist was given an object (a stethoscope), they then had to find inspiration from that to create a new object of their own. That object was then passed to me and I was challenged to create something inspired from that. This continued for 4 people. The object I was given was a ceiling lamp by ‘Plant and Moss’. I started to think about ceiling lights and the question of ‘why do we only plug light bulbs into lamp sockets?’

IMG_5933 radio1

My first thought was that it would be interesting to have music playing from the centre of a room, to be able to plug in a radio for example. I actually don’t use ceiling lights so much and prefer table lights for a more subtle light in the room. I set about finding old radios from markets and shops that I could convert with the addition of a bayonet or Edison screw light bulb connector and a 9v transformer to connect to where the battery would normally be. I decided to demonstrate the idea at the exhibition with a table lamp also. I could have chose a minimal table lamp and a modern day music player, but decided to go in the opposite direction. There are not many opportunities in life  to combine 1880 golden statues with 1980 ghetto blasters so I took it.


The table lamp also has a little pull string to turn on and off. Of course there are many potential directions to my concept. remote. I have further uses and additions for this idea in mind.

During research I discovered that the very first electric irons were powered by electric lamp sockets see this 1920′s picture below.

Untitled-3The link to the Exhibition facebook page is here

For larger images for use on websites, print etc please contact using the contact page.

Everyday Action Orchestra
April 22, 2013, 2:26 pm
Filed under: Drawings


Last year I lead a five day workshop at NABA, an art and design university in Milan. I set the challenge to create something I called the ‘Everyday Action Orchestra’. Each designer needed to think of an everyday action, such as waving, shaking hands, brushing teeth etc. They then needed to create an object that would make a musical sound when that action was made. There would be a performance at the end of the 5 days where everyone would perform their action and simultaneously make a sound. Hopefully it would look interesting and sound good.

Here is a recording of the performance at the end of the workshop to the rest of the NABA students.

One of my assistants was Michelle Sterchele who composed some music using all the created instruments, you can hear it below. Also some photos of the Everyday action instruments (taken by Astrid Luglio)

You can follow me on twitter or Facebook

NABA 2012 Everyday Actions workshop Milan

NABA 2012 Everyday Actions workshop Milan

12 Cloud ideas
April 21, 2013, 10:23 pm
Filed under: Drawings | Tags: , ,

I’m visiting family in Central Otago, New Zealand at the moment, it’s a beautiful place and a nice rest from London.

Before I left the UK I was asked to create 12 cloud based ideas for the Milan event ‘Ready to Cloud‘. Here are my ideas below…

cloud catcher












Glasgow talk and event
February 28, 2013, 6:21 pm
Filed under: Drawings

I’m giving a free talk at The Lighthouse, Glasgow on March 5th about my work and there’ll be an outcome of a 2 day workshop I’m doing with Glasgow School of Art students to see. Tickets available here.


On the BBC tonight and a look back at last year.
January 30, 2013, 4:19 pm
Filed under: Drawings | Tags: , ,

Tonight I will be competing against a 3D printer to make a model of Big Ben on the BBC 2 The Culture Show at 10pm 30/01/13.

2012 Review:


2012 was a very busy year for me, probably my busiest. I remember starting the year thinking that I had no idea what I will do in 2012. Then Jaffa Cakes commissioned me to nibble their biscuit/cakes in the shape of something. Around that time I tweeted ‘I want to race against a 3D printer to make the same thing’ a curator saw it and invited me to compete in Milan. I defeated the 3D printer and won a trophy. While I was in Milan I spent 5 days making something out of sticks and tape in front of the public. On return to London I was invited to the V&A museum to have a rematch against a British 3D Printer. A bit later I was asked to create a souvenir of East London and had the idea to make a vinyl record recording the sounds of East London makers at work. The record was cut about half a mile from my house in Hackney. BBC radio 4′s Today programme visited me and I talked about the sounds and the history behind the makers. It even got played on radio in Tokyo.

In September I had a solo show at KK Outlet Gallery, I decided to make a book of my invention drawings and released a little animation. A little earlier I had been commissioned to make new versions of my shoe field for Global Footprint in Northamptonshire. I was also commissioned to create a pair of shoes. After thinking about Dorothy in The wizard of Oz I decided to try to create some shoes that could navigate the wearer home. These shoes appeared all over the place in mainstream newspapers and tv such as The Discovery channel. Meanwhile I was asked to do something interesting with 3M tape. Finally I was asked to create something that would be suspended across a street inthe Seven Dials area of London. I made an arch of birdcages to represent the past history of pet shops in the area.

This year I’m once again unsure what direction I will go in, I might do some more sketched inventions for a start.



Talking at Dezeen Live
December 17, 2012, 3:13 pm
Filed under: Drawings | Tags:


I had the pleasure of talking to Marcus Fairs, editor of on stage at the 100% Design exhibition in September about some of my work including GPS shoes, the value of sketching and thinking outside the normal.

You can see the full Dezeen post here

Have an inventive Christmas
December 7, 2012, 2:34 pm
Filed under: Drawings | Tags: , , ,

My book of invention ideas seems to be selling well, about two thirds through the 1000 printed. I had a lovely comment from Thomas Heatherwick, designer of the London olympic cauldron amongst other brilliant things. He kindly wrote, “Dominic Wilcox’s drawings aren’t just witty and beautifully drawn, they are serious challenges to the real world to keep looking at itself with innocent eyes, wondering what else is possible” He mentioned a favourite of his was the motorised ladder below.

Christmas is nearly here and if you want gifts to keep your relatives entertained after their Turkey why not buy my signed book Variations on Normal HERE for only £8 so I can buy myself a Christmas pudding. Worldwide delivery is no problem but be quick for the post before christmas.

I must make more effort putting it into shops but it is available in London at Magma near Covent Garden, Artwords on Broadway Market, Theo at Somerset House arcade, The Serpentine Gallery book shop and in Edinburgh at Analogue Bookshop.




Or how about my Sounds of Making in East London vinyl record with mp3. See here.

The Birds of Seven Dials
October 11, 2012, 2:47 pm
Filed under: Drawings | Tags:

I was commissioned by Dezeen and Shaftesbury Seven Dials to create a sculpture to be suspended across Neal street in the Seven Dials area of London. My research of the area revealed that in 1879 Charles Dickens Jnr described Seven Dials in his book ‘Dicken’s Dictionary of London’ as a place where many bird shops and bird cage makers could be found. “Every variety of pigeon, fowl, and rabbit can be found here, together with rare birds, such as hawks and owls… Here and there are shops fi lled with cages.”

I decided to make an arch of ghost like birdcages to reference the memory of the birds and the shops of that time. Each cage is left open in remembrance of the birds long departed from the area.

Building it in the workshop…

My new book and a little animation
September 18, 2012, 10:46 am
Filed under: Drawings | Tags:

I have put together over one hundred of my odd yet strangely logical invention drawings into a little book. You can see some of the ideas below. They all come from a room inside my head that I like to go to every now and again. A signed book can be bought for the bargain amount of £8 on my web shop here. I’ve had 1000 printed and they seem to be selling fast.

‘Dominic Wilcox’s drawings aren’t just witty and beautifully drawn, they are serious challenges to the real world to keep looking at itself with innocent eyes, wondering what else is possible.’
Thomas Heatherwick, (designer of the London Olympic cauldron amongst other innovative work.)

In addition to the book I made a little animation by connecting some of the book’s ideas into a mini story. Hope you enjoy.

Also if you are in London come down to KK Outlet where I have an exhibition on.

Guide me home shoes
September 16, 2012, 8:48 pm
Filed under: Drawings

I was commissioned by the Global Footprint project in Northamptonshire, a place famous for shoe making, to create some shoes. I decided to make a pair of shoes that can navigate you wherever you wished, no matter where you are in the world. I thought about the Wizard of Oz and how Dorothy could click her shoes together to go home. After uploading your required destination to the shoes via a piece of custom made mapping software and a USB cable, the GPS, which is embedded in the heel, is activated by a heel click. It then communicates to the wearer via a ring of LED lights to point in the required direction. The shoe with the GPS wirelessly communicates with the right shoe that has a progress bar of lights to show how close you are to the destination.

The Shoe is connected to a laptop with the mapping software. The user plots their destination on a map and uploads it to the shoe. The USB connection also charges the battery in each shoe.

The progress bar starts with one red light at the beginning of the journey and ends on the green light when you arrive. The correct direction to walk is shown by the illumination of one of the LED’s on the circle.

I made an illustration that was etched onto the soles. The red leather and stitcing is a little reference to Dorothy’s red ruby shoes.

For more pictures and information visit

Variations on Normal (the exhibition)
September 11, 2012, 2:12 pm
Filed under: Drawings

I have an exhibition of my work on at KK Outlet gallery, London, running until the 26th of September. I’ve got new work never seen before on show as well as recent and past work and all my videos. I’ve even launched a book of my invention drawings and an animation. So it’s been very busy recently.

The show is open all through the London Design Festival and should be mentioned in the guides.

7th – 26th September
9 – 6pm Monday Friday, 12 – 5pm Saturday.

Dominic Wilcox – Variations on Normal
KK Outlet
42 Hoxton Square
N1 6PB

One of the things I’m showing is a personal collection of oddities that I own. For example on the left is this WW2 Japanese Airforce ceramic fire extinguisher. Designed to be filled with sand and thrown out of an airplane on to fires caused by bombing below. I was told by the previous owner that the technique wasn’t very effective.
Next to it is a wedgewood teapot that can lean back to use its internal tea leaf strainer.

I also have a pair of shoes that can guide you home to post about soon and an animation and book.

With thanks to Richard Shed Studio who designed the layout, graphics and design of the exhibition.

Sounds of Making on the airwaves.
July 19, 2012, 10:24 am
Filed under: Drawings | Tags: , ,

My Sounds of Making in East London vinyl record is getting some nice coverage, BBC radio 4′s Beth Mcleod did a lovely feature on it for the Today programme, you can hear it here…

It also made it onto J-Wave radio in Tokyo…

You can buy the record (with included digital download) here. For more pictures and details about the makers I visited go to

Sounds of Making in East London vinyl record and website launched
June 21, 2012, 3:49 pm
Filed under: Drawings

Sounds of Making in East London, 10″ vinyl record, 2012
Sound recordings of twenty-one East London makers at work
A project conceived, recorded and illustrated by Dominic Wilcox
Listen to a sample here…

£15 available here (inc digital download)

I was commissioned by CREATE 2012 to make an ‘alternative’ souvenir for East London. They wanted to commission ‘a collection that aims to be a desirable antidote to the overly-commercial, tacky souvenirs on sale across London this summer.’

I decided to focus on what makes East London unique, the large amount of skilled, creative and historical makers that live and work there. I visited 21 makers in East London and recorded the sounds of them at work. Examples included the clatter of lyric poet John Hegley’s typewriter, the chopping of garlic in a Michelin star restaurant, the tap of rock ‘n’ roll cobbler Terry de Havilland’s hammer and the sound of a bell being tuned in Britains oldest manufacturer.

I then found a vinyl record company in Hackney who cut and manufactured the record. Then I drew some of the tools and the makers for the record sleeve and added the track descriptions on the back. The record is now available to buy for £15 and includes an mp3 download code.

When I visited the makers I also took photos and I did 10 interviews. I decided to create a website that would document all of the project. I hope you enjoy visiting it. Now I sleep.

3D Printer Re-match at the V&A
May 17, 2012, 2:45 pm
Filed under: Drawings

After my triumphant victory over the 3D Printer in Milan I returned to home turf to compete against a new printer at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London during their monthly Friday Late event. This time I competed against a machine from A1 Technologies. I decided that we should both make a model of St Paul’s Cathedral. In Milan I used clay to make the Duomo but this time I thought I would try marzipan just to make it more difficult for myself and get closer to potential public humiliation.

I was a little surprised at the size of the crowd as I came out from behind the curtain after we were introduced.

Curator extraordinaire Beatrice Galilee gave running commentary on the event, highlighting such dramas as the fact I seemed to be struggling to get into the marzipan packet.

The maripan got softer as the heat rose so it was a bit of a challenge to make a Cathedral.

The vote was put to the crowd and they thought I had won (most likely out of sympathy).

After my victory in Milan the 3D Printer sent me this bad loser message…


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