The design process - step by step
What do you need to keep in mind when designing and developing products? What are the different steps in the design process? How long does it take to get from sketch to finished product? We asked our founder and designer to answer some questions about the process.
Step 1 I always start with getting inspiration first. Often I already have an idea of how I want a product to look like, but then there are of course always lots of details to work on. Normally I start with a Pinterest board at the beginning of every season, where I pin inspiration for upcoming collections. From the Pinterest board I then take the best ideas and move to the next step.
Step 2 In the second step, I try to get all thoughts and ideas into one clear sketch. There are many different ways to create a sketch. You can either use design software, or go the traditional way with pen and paper. In the sketch, I add the details I want the products to have, such as fit, logo placement, what kind of seams, zippers or buttons I would like to use.
Step 3 When I have the sketch of the design and all details ready, it’s time to choose the material. Here I ask questions such as: When will the product be used? How should the finish look like? Does the product need to be waterproof? Should it keep you warm or is the focus on its functionality? If the product, for instance, will be worn directly on the skin, it is very important that it is breathable and moisture-wicking. The intended use of a product always drives the choice of material. Whenever I’m designing a product, I never choose materials that are not functional. On the contrary, that’s always my highest priority.
Step 4 Color choice This step doesn’t take too much time for me. I always keep a pretty basic color scheme. This makes sure that the designs will never go out of fashion. I never jump on temporary trends or “colors of the year”. I stick with timeless earth tones, that go well with all outfits. The products have to be easy to style with what you already have in your wardrobe. However, sometimes I try something new and spend more time on choosing colors. For our first breeches, for instance, I always try to find new colors – but they always have to stay in line with out classic color scheme. To find the right shade of a color takes its time. Take our burgundy breeches Alba and Adelina as an example: We worked over one year until we finally found the right shade.
Step 5 Then we send the sketches and product specifications to our supplier, who produces an actual sample of the product. We have a pretty close relationship and ongoing dialogue to our supplier, which means that nowadays we quickly get it right with our new samples. But I would say that the product samples are usually sent back and forth a couple of times before finding the right one. Our new Compression Breeches, however, are an exception. For them, we send samples back and forth for over two years before we found the right one. The more advanced and unique a product is, the harder it is to get it right.
Step 6 When all the details are in place and the sample is completely finished, we place what is called a bulk order. This means a large order of the product. The products we receive are then a part of our new collections.
Each and every product is unique, and so is its design process. There are products that were completed within a couple of months, while other products have taken several years to complete. To me, the whole process from idea to finished product is the most fun and exciting thing there is. I love seeing my products being worn by riders all over the world. Nothing makes me happier and prouder
Three quick questions
How do you identify the need for a new product?
I am a rider myself. I ride, train and compete with my horses. When I’m at the stable or out riding, that’s often when I come up with new product ideas. That’s, for example, how I realized that riding breeches need a more practical mobile phone pocket. I also identify the need for new products based on the feedback we receive from ourcustomers, which is very valuable to me during the process.
What is most important to you when designing products?
Most important to me is always the product’s function. I never put a product’s appearance before its functionality. Riding clothes, which is what I design after all, have to withstand tough conditions and environments. That’s why it is important to prioritize features such as functionality and comfort.
Which product are you most satisfied with?
I would say that our new Compression breeches are definitely up there with my all-time favorites. I just think they have it all, comfort, function and a unique design.