Zibites love for bikes has become apparent as we've kicked off the Oregon Manifest design challenge. To harness the raw energy and excitement around this project we asked all Ziba employees to submit a couple of their ideal bicycle designs. The results were incredible. In the end we had a couple hundred submissions from a wide variety of perspectives. Some bikes were thoughtful and serious, some were playful and a handful came out of left field (see pizza party). Enjoy!
In our previous posts we mentioned the methodical and rational way that we—Ziba + Signal—typically approach creative problem solving and design: we understand the user, the context, and the problems associated with a specific design challenge. This information, and the insights we derive from it, becomes the foundation for designing a beautiful experience, building a beautiful bike and telling a beautiful story. Of course, the essential ingredient to the Ziba + Signal approach to the design process is inspiration. You know the kind we're talking about: the "Eureka!" moment when the design becomes clear, when the abstract becomes concrete. It is impossible to force these moments of inspiration, but there are things we can do to increase the likelihood that they will happen early and often in the process.
On this project, we are surrounding ourselves with a carefully curated assortment of objects and visuals. We believe there are two fundamental ways that visual stimulus aids inspiration. First, there are always opportunities to find inspiring metaphors in things that are vastly different than the object we are designing. Second, by surrounding ourselves with things that we find brilliant and beautiful, we are compelled and motivated to make things that are brilliant and beautiful. This is the almost-visceral response that lives inside designers: when we see creativity we want to create. To this end we have plastered the walls and filled the shelves of our project room (room 225) with all kinds of inspiration material.
Take a look at a few of the initial boards we are using as visual inspiration for our bike project. We like to think of these boards as "living," meaning that they will evolve and change as our bike progresses and as our need for inspiration becomes more specific. Why do we find these things interesting and beautiful and relevant and meaningful? We're not entirely sure yet, but that's precisely the point.
We would be remiss if we did not mention the "best city bike" award given to Signal Cycles at the 2011 North American Handbuilt Bike Show. This award-winning bike was in their shop when we first met with Signal and we were immediately enamored by its beautiful design and thoughtful details. We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to listen to Matt and Nate talk about the thought and craft that went into executing this design. One of our favorite features on the bike is a beautifully crafted holder for a single wrench on the seat tube. This simple idea occurred to Nate in a brief moment of inspiration and has since become one of the most popular features on the bike.
But you really have to hear Matt and Nate talk about it! Next month we will post videos of the Signal guys explaining the thought behind their "best city bike." Stay tuned!
P.S. In last month's diary entry we described our "first date" with the guys from Signal: a bike ride through the streets of Portland and an initial meeting of the minds. We put together this short video to document our first outing: