Welcome to part 2 of our “design process” blog, giving you an inside look at how we design here at IPPINKA. Last week, we showed you the beginnings of our wall hook design. After researching, brainstorming, and sketching, we found a direction for our design – a versatile hook that works for everyday commuters, who are also design-loving individuals. Now let’s get into the stage we like to call the decision-making phase. This phase is where we move from design iterations, to decisions about materials, and prototypes to refine our concept. Through this whole process we’re always thinking about our core design values: functionality, minimalism, and quality.
Iteration is repeating a process many times to generate an outcome. We design by iterating – we sketch and model quickly to test ideas and refine them. It helps us explore using, shapes, and components of a design without getting too attached to one idea. We’ve iterated our design focusing on three aspects. First, the overall aesthetics and form of the hook. Second, the different components it may have. And third, how to hold a decent amount of weight while keeping a minimal aesthetic. We all know that a bike up against the wall isn’t going to hold with just a piece of gum! Through our iterations, we identified three possible needs for the design: it needs to connect to wall, hold a heavy object like a bike, and do a little something extra – otherwise it’s just a bike hook. We started to think of these needs as three different components. But, would all of these components be made of the same material?
As much as we love a minimal design, we thought that different components of the hook suggest different materials. We started to explore a combination of different materials to contrast one another, giving our product a certain allure. Looking at (and touching!) different material samples inspired our creative thinking. One thought we kept returning to was using different material properties for each part of the hook – soft materials (leather, neoprene, felt) for cushioning, and sturdy materials (wood, metal, cork) for the structure. But since we were committed to our iterative process, we didn’t want to get too committed to materials just yet, so we jumped to the next step in our phase: prototyping.
We explored the aesthetic aspects of our product by creating rough versions of look-alike prototypes. Let’s pause for a second and explain that. For us, a look-alike prototype represents the form, the look and the proportions of what you would be currently creating. It’s not a functional prototype since it’s built with thin materials like paper, cardboard, foam core. Whatever we can get our hands on! Not only does it help us understand the construction of the product, but it also identifies the key features of the hook, and its aesthetic. This versatile wall hook would have three different components, each essential to the design and each fulfilling a different role. And aesthetically we could use three different materials to create contrast between the parts. As we design, we’re always reminding ourselves to follow the path of minimalism with simple geometry and simple lines. As Dieter Rams would say, back to purity, back to simplicity.
Read about our process of speaking to makers in next week’s post.