Industrial design doesn't always mean corporate clients. Every once in a while, an ID firm fields gigs from individuals. As product design & development consultancy The Metcalfe Group writes:
A serial entrepreneur came to us with the desire to create an innovative new recreational cooler with features never implemented before: unique built-in seat backs, a fold-away rotating pull handle, umbrella holder, cargo hook attachments, and wheels that can navigate over a variety of terrain. The cooler would be designed for multiple markets: tailgaters, sports spectators, campers, fishermen, boaters, beachgoers, and more.
In an effort to ensure that the cooler would be able to traverse even the harshest of environments, a bevy of wheels were sourced and extensively tested on various terrain. In order to accommodate the use of the cooler while fishing or camping in the outdoors, larger tires were required to better distribute the weight and improve ease of use.
Mock-ups were created to assess ergonomic requirements and to gather data that would feed the Finite Element Analysis (FEA), used to determine the structural strength of the components. Various human loading scenarios were measured and computer simulations were performed using the forces from those tests. The result was a structurally-proven and ergonomically-efficient design.
As the basic requirements of the cooler were decided upon, industrial design concept sketches helped to determine the general form and to refine the aesthetics. Color was also explored with the client to determine the preferred color combinations. Some colors referenced existing outdoor products, but seemed to exclude the casual, everyday consumer. Blue was chosen because of its universal appeal, ability to adapt to multiple demographics and as a visual indicator of coldness.
During the engineering phase, the cooler was exhaustively shaped (guided by industrial design consideration) and analyzed by more than 100 finite element analysis simulations for determining structural integrity. This cooler had to withstand the weight of two large adults, including the force of them leaning back without the cooler collapsing or tipping over. It's safe to say that it is one of the most highly engineered and functional coolers ever designed. One patent has already been granted, and another patent is currently pending.
You can see more of the Metcalfe Group's work here.
Join over 240,000 designers who stay up-to-date with the Core77 newsletter.
Test it out; it only takes a single click to unsubscribe