A while back a Canadian company by the name of Zorrata reached out to me for some watch concepts to add to their already reputable jewelry line. The design process was quick and to the point, and about a year and a half later they just launched their first watch – the Academy. Here’s an initial image of the timepiece, check back for a full portfolio page of the design process soon.
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….
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.
Factory pictures of the injection molding of the pit-zippers and how they are removed manually one-by-one.
I drew up my own diagram for the attitude change that occurs throughout my creative process during a project. It is a mix between the Creative Design Process tweet by Marcus Romer and design courage by David Whetstone.
What I’ve experienced as a freelance product designer, is that you’re constantly going through periods of self-doubt. This is or course natural, but sometimes hard to grasp for people outside of the industry or even for clients that just want you to deliver.
Fear is generally the biggest obstacle I face during this process. Fearing that you won’t deliver on time or to the expectations of the client, fear that you took on too much, and the fear that you’ll deliver sub-par design that will wreck further job opportunities.
My exercise lately, that’s come through a lot of rounds with myself, is to try to absorb that fear and turn it into a motivational driver to work harder and extend further. It doesn’t always work, and I often fall back into the same track of ups and downs that are presented in the diagram above, but being cognizant about the emotional roller-coaster and accepting it as a process makes it somewhat easier to perform the tasks at hand.
I do have a love/hate relationship with design and I think it’s healthy to be able to take a step back and be critical to what you’re doing, but at the same time let the process take control and in the end try to be content/happy with what you have produced as long as you gave it your all.