So I’m an Industrial Designer and I am pretty proud of that, the only problem is trying to explain it to someone, lets say at a dinner party…so you’re an Industrial Designer huh?…so do you design industrial sized things? (…crickets…and big gulps…) Ya pretty much.
Unless you’re apart of the Industrial Design world chances are you have no idea what it is or what they do, but what you don’t realize is that they design the products that you use everyday. From you hair brush and blow dryer, to your shoes, bags, and accessories, they all had to be designed and more likely than not, they were designed by an industrial designer.
There are a few other names such as Product Designer or Transportation Designer but we do a lot of different things. Product development, engineering, manufacturing, Graphic Design, Packaging design. And within our jobs we sketch, draw, sculpt, 3-D model, engineer, build and so on.
When I was headed off to college to study art, I thought I had two options: to become an art teacher or to be a graphics designer. But then the clouds opened and I discovered Industrial Design.
My class list included the following: welding, wood shop, sketching, painting, sculpting, sewing, dress making, manufacture engineering, plastics and materials, engineering and technology.
One super bonus as a young single female college student was that I was the only female in many of my classes. Lots of dating potential. But don’t worry, I kept my eye of the prize to get my diploma; a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the College of Engineering and Technology. Kind of a crazy combo.
I got my first taste of product design when I designed and built this chair from cardboard and duct tape. And fortunately as my taste in design and materials matured, I was hired on as a Product Designer for Ogio International. While I headed up their Women’s Line, I also got to design for Ski/Snow, Golf, and my favorite was for the Street Bike Line.
I’m not going to lie, I love seeing my bag on the back of a macho street biker.
Product Design breaks down into two basic sub groups of hard goods and soft goods. Hard goods meaning products made from plastics and metals and soft goods make from cut and sew fabrics. My emphasis in soft goods and my background in sewing and construction sent me down the path of soft goods city. From backpacks, messenger bags, luggage, and so much more. While I stick mostly to soft goods, I have done a fair share of company logos and branding, instructional design, packaging design, and hard goods design.
All these categories combined when I took on the task of developing an all new line of sports bags and equipment for New Balance. See my portfolio on Aquaproductdesign.com If I didn’t already love them even more for their comfy Fresh Foam running shoes, and a toe box shape that was ideal for me, their retro 574 shoes are super comfy and go with just about everything. Check out the 574 Bags I did to compliment their shoe design. Photos by Kelsey Bang, aren’t they the cutest couple!?!
Another one of my favorite New Balance products was this lady’s duffel bag (shown below). It combines all the softness of apparel with functionality and breath-ability of a sports bag to make it the perfect gym bag or weekend get away pack. The tricky thing is getting that design on paper to translate over well to the finished product. It can be hit or miss with the way a factory can translate or should I say miss-translate a design. You never know what you’re going to get. So for this project it was necessary to make it out of paper first. Yes paper. And yes I shipped a paper bag to China so that they could make me the real bag….it worked out pretty dang good.
While I love to sew and love making up product ideas and translating them in to finished products, it isn’t realistic for me to sew up every product I design. The more complicated backpacks and luggage would be impossible. That’s why most of my sewing instructions for Craft Remedy are designed to be as easy and efficient as possible.
So while I still love to design products for all sorts of different companies I have loved building up the Craft Remedy brand and designing all sorts of fun digital printables (see our cool pillows and iron ons), diy projects (check out the bunny house), and sewing and craft instructions (caprons and towel robes). Same design process but way more direct connection to the customers and followers and I love it.
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