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Carry-on design concept [PART 2]

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Carry-on design concept [PART 2]

Recap from part 1

One of the hallmarks of a well-designed item is that it’s understandable and “makes sense”. This increases satisfaction and usability. A clear concept at the very beginning can have a major impact on how clear and understandable your design will be.

You can develop a concept by asking two questions:

  • The question “what am I designing?” will help you find the goal.
  • The question “what am I not designing” will help you narrow your focus by giving your goal some creative constrains.

You can do this in any format you like. Our example is finding a sentence that covers the goal and the solutions, and then giving context and constrains to the parts that were too ambiguous (bolded out keywords).

Invisible Carryon concept - one bag travel

Just like with our other bags, we aim to simplify people lives with a design that is versatile both in function and form, meaning you can use one bag for a lot of things. In the carry-on case, we want it to provide a single bag travel experience that removes the need to bring an extra day pack. Well, at least minimize the need as best as possible. 

Our concept:

"A carry-on style backpack that simplifies air travel with “airport ready” organization and the remainder of your journey with versatile city-appropriate form."

This sentence defines the goal we are trying to reach - simplify a part of a person's trip. The bolded keywords are areas that need to be defined so that we know our boundaries and what we are aiming for. As we progress along the design process and our understanding deepens these things can be revisited and changed. These are our initial assumptions so don't be afraid to challenge them. Okay, let's dig in.

"Carry-on style backpack"

Travel backpack is a relatively new thing. It is a backpack for those travelers who don’t like wheeled luggage, but also aren’t fully satisfied with the space and organization of a regular backpack.

With a carry-on you don’t need to check in your bag, you can easily go up and down the stairs, trough cobble streets and you look less "touristy". Other benefits are easy organization, wide opening just like a suitcase, and a bigger capacity.

Travel Backpack

Carry-on Suitcase

Regular Backpack

Easy to carry

+

-

+

Hands free

+

-

+

Wheels

-

+

-

Easy to pack

+

+

-

Laptop pocket

+

-

+

Quick Access pockets

+

-

+

Smart Business Travel

-

+

-

Capacity

30-35l

40-45l

20-25l


But it is not for everyone. This backpack doesn’t really work for smart business trips when you travel in a suit, despite some companies’ attempts to hide the backpack straps and use it as a duffel. Due to its size, it is not really suitable for long trips. It’s not a bag for hiking either, where extra attention needs to be paid to ergonomics and weight distribution.

That being said, you might use it for business trips, just as some can do a 2-week trip with the same amount of space. It’s very personal, and an item should respect it as best as it can, without adding or removing too many things that would make it impossible. This is where the simplicity and unobtrusive functionality comes in. But you can’t make it perfect-for-all. Many carry-on backpacks try to do this already, so there is no use venturing to the same dark place.

"Airport-ready organization"

The biggest benefit of a carry-on is its ability to help you organize, provide space, and at the same time stay small enough for you to take it on board. At the concept level, we start by distinguishing the base features that are necessary to meet these requirements from the secondary features that are less important. 

The base features

Every travel backpack has to have certain features. Some of them can be more important depending on the bag and your needs. Here is the list of basic features that every travel backpack has to have:

  1. Size that fits within airlines carry-on regulations.
  2. Easy opening for packing
  3. A layout that maximizes space
  4. A pocket for a laptop
  5. A quick access pocket for small items, like earphones, glasses, snack, etc.

This is the foundation we will build upon. It gives us a glimpse of how the bag should be put together. We know maximizing the allowed space is a priority, this means the shape should reflect this. Additional pockets shouldn't obstruct the main compartment and be kept to a minimum. The opening should be similar to a suitcase to make it easier to organise and retrieve your things, and so on. But this is an initial assumption. Once we reach the research stage we will either confirm or change this.

Secondary features

And these are the features that a bag could have, but are not essential:

  1. Shoe pocket
  2. Water bottle pocket
  3. Rainproof
  4. Hide away shoulder straps
  5. Compression straps
  6. Sternum strap
  7. Ability to be used as a messenger or duffel bag
  8. Lockable zippers

These features should not be prioritized over the basic features and could be added to the bag only if there is a real need for them.

"Versatile city-appropriate form"

A known fact is that a carry-on might be too big to use during later stages of a trip. A secondary daypack is often the solution for people who don't want to carry their luggage around but still need a bag during their trip.

Appearance is another issue. The carry-on aesthetics often give out a more functional "geeky" and "touristy" vibe. This can also cause a person to bring a secondary bag. 

Size and appearance are the two things we need to tackle in order to make this backpack good enough for single bag travel. 

We will talk more about appearance in a later post. But now that we have a concept, we can start doing some research to either confirm or refine our primary assumptions. 


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