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School Project (4 Weeks)

Areas I worked in: Product Design

Software used: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign 

This project was made as a collaboration between Umeå Institute of Design and Hultafors to give us students a good practical understanding of how a design process looks like during product design. Another goal was for Hultafors to gain a better understanding about users of pruning saws, which is about to become a new product line. The collaboration went on for four weeks, with recurrent contact between us and Hultafors.
Hultafors sketch and model

Research

Design Language – Target Group – Competitor Analysis – Foam Model Angle Testing

The first task was to research the brand and understand their core values which their current products rely on. Then we went out to the forest ourselves and tried out different competitor saws as well as making foam models to test how different angles affected the ergonomics. 
Hultafors start phase
Hultafors desktop research
Hultafors competitor analysis
Hultafors angle model making
Hultafors me sawing
Hultafors foam angle test

User Study

We booked a meeting with park workers from the Umeå municipality to see how they use their tools for branch sawing.
When pruning on ground the professionals used foldable pruning saws. They liked the flexibility and mobility of small foldable saws that fit in their pockets. Problems that the workers found with current pruning saws was that some of the blades turned blunt quick. Also, some of them lost their locking mechanism and opened up while being carried in a pocket, both increasing the risk of injury and the saw getting stuck.
Hultafors user study
Hultafors user study 2
Hultafors user study 3

Ideation

Sketch Ideation – Idea Generation

I started by making three different design directions: a fixed, longer blade with a blade sheath, a sliding saw and a foldable one. In the end I chose the foldable saw. Some of the main reasons for that was that the sliding mechanism was hard to make ergonomic and became more of a gimmick, the sheath wouldn’t have been used since the park workers preferred the flexibility of their own pockets as well as shorter blades etc. It was also important to include a good locking mechanism with noticable feedback showing whether it was locked or not.

Prototyping

Foam Model Making – User Testing

With a total of five handles, I let other students and the park workers from Umeå municipality try them and give input. With their knowledge of using pruning saws in their profession I gained more input about how the form of the handle would affect the sawing during long hours. One thing that I noted down was that some of the users liked the handles that offered a place for the thumb to rest (going from a power grip to a precision grip). Having analyzed the pros and cons of all the models, I could start working on my sixth and final model.
Hultafors foam models
Hultafors foam model finishing
Hultafors user test
Hultafors model spray
Hultafors user test 2
Hultafors model painting

Result

Final Renderings – Final Foam Model

The colors are used with semantics in mind, black for grip and the button together with red for details and showing direction. The connection between the blade and the handle was made visible, lines were made in the handle to make it more ergonomic for the user. By using only two colors, red and black, the number of materials used can be lowered, saving production costs. I prioritized quality before quantity by keeping the gimmicks down. The locking mechanism uses audible feedback to let the user know when the blade is secured or not. I feel that my final model is in line with the quality that Hultafors stands and strive for.
Hultafors final foam model
Hultafors final foam model 2
Hultafors sketch final design