Form Tuning Methodology

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  • In 2007 I wanted to reinvent how our design group developed future brand-form language.  The following image set depicts an evolving process of form development that has brought Treks family of product into one cohesive vision.  
  • The concept started with words.  Words that resonated with specific riders.  It was evident that we need seperate languages to empathize with customer desires; Mountain bikes are not just mountain bikes.  There are key categories represented by a multitude of riders that each have specific functional needs from their products.   Words that worked visually were sketched, sketches were modeled into sculptures that represented products for two distinct riders.
  • The methodology proved effective for mountain bike development - but what about other categories?  I had to look deeper - I had to create a tool that allowed everyone on the team how to take their understanding of riders' needs and communicate it through form.  Category-specific visual brand language was born (csVBL).
  • Understanding the rider (end user) gives context to the designer.   And whether they - the rider - realizes it or not, the product needs to speak to them in their language...what the spandex-wearing racer hears is different than what the gap-jumping thrill seeker hears.
  • The process is in summary:  Understand your brands core design values and personality  - combine that with end-user research (context, empathy) and engineering principles to communicate intent and emotion.  That's it - an amazing process that a designer can use to achieve empathy for the user whilst maintaining the brand family look.
  • The process evolves to meet new needs and new definitions.  The next 'sculpture' is in the works, as are new products...can't show them yet!