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Sweat the small stuff

A few years back I had the opportunity to work with Burton snowboards as a part of a creative team that worked on their AK collection. In addition to designing their glove/mitt line I also got to explore some of the trim details on the jackets.

Yeah I know, nothing crazy right? A front jacket zipper and pit-zipper puller, big deal….

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They might seem trivial and for most “non-designers”, just something that is already there on a garment, probably smacked on at the last minute. This is definitely not the case. These little suckers are often well thought-out and designed specifically for each function that they should perform. This mainly because the details aren’t just useless ornamentation or an after-thought, they are the things that will enhance the brand (at least they should be). It will also justify the price for that extra good garment, and it will bring cohesiveness to the overall look and feel of the product you design.

To refer to something that Charles Eames once said: “The details are not the details. They make the design.”

Reimagining the ergonomic functionality and shape of something as small as a zipper puller, pit-zippers and zipper garages takes time and the process can be quite tedious. It might just be the unglamorous part of the outerwear design process, but is vital for that tactile feedback to the end user. At least, that is what I tell myself at the end of the day. I thought I'd share some pictures below to give some context to the process.

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Factory pictures of the injection molding of the pit-zippers and how they are removed manually one-by-one.

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