Friday, October 16, 2009

The Briefcase

I have been asked (many many times) to make a messenger bag for dudes. I know they're hip and cool and everyone wears one, but I can't bring myself to make one because of just one feature on the bag... that flap on the front. It's really a non-value-added feature to the bag and I can't rationalize its function (isn't it just a piece of wasted fabric?). Plus, it's my job as an engineer to be able to translate a "Customer Want" into a functional and marketable product with features that customers need and will use.

The product must also be efficiently created to minimize wasted material and unnecessary additions. If there is an addition to the bag that is not functional for the customer, then the customer shouldn't have to pay for it. For instance, I used to make these bags with removable straps but no one ever removed the straps to just use it as a tote, so why pay for the additional hardware and labor?

I had a similar experience in my senior design year when my team and I were asked to redesign a surgical tool for use in the operating room. One of the design requirements requested was that it be a "single-handed-use device". Alright, so the product should be small and compact --that will be value added to its ergonomics, but in this particular case, the operation is highly technique sensitive and requires great stability. So what was the surgeon going to do with his other hand during this procedure? Nothing. Thus, we made it small and compact, but two-handed use to ensure the procedure would be done carefully and correctly. We ended up with a sexy product and presented it to the president of the company and received great feedback on its design. You may see it in the future. :)

Back to the topic...

As I was discussing all the design requirements that The Boy wanted for a laptop bag, he stated the following:

1. Fits 6 lb. 15.6" laptop
2. Zippered closure
3. Front Pocket with flap
4. Adjustable Strap
5. Handles on top

Sounds like The Briefcase to me.

Oh, I translated the "zippered closure" into a more functional flap with metal snap closure because really, I don't think anyone will be swinging this bag around and upside down. Plus, I think it's better this way --much easier to open and close on the fly.

The Briefcase (improved)

Briefcase (details)

You can see the interior here. And size-comparison to the Traveler.

This bag was made with saddle leather, so it is really tough and can handle lots of abuse. I only have enough for one Briefcase, but I'll be looking for more.

Holidays are just around the corner and hand makers are going to be busy busy making your gifts in time for December! So get them in early and save yourself the pressure (and us, too). :)

1 comment:

  1. That is beautiful. I want one! I have always loved messenger-style bags. (And I love reading about the engineering aspect/evolution of this bag!)