Through fall, winter and spring of 2019 - 2020, Gon has been my capstone focus as I finished the last two semesters of my Bachelors in Craft and Design at Sheridan College.
The design concept was to develop an urban backpack with comfortable straps that help users distribute external weight throughout their body. Many popular brands on the market focus on offering urban backpacks that are aesthetically pleasing. This often means sacrificing functional elements on ergonomic features that are considered utilitarian. My mission here is to design a backpack that balances function and comfort with a strong sense of aesthetic appeal. I believe that by focusing on key elements, I can persuade users to embrace these utilitarian features as fashionable, and as a result, help them carry their load for longer periods of time without discomfort.
The main user demographic is teenagers and young adults ages 13+
Studies show that back problems are on the rise for people of all ages. This especially pertains to young people whose bodies are still developing. As their muscles and bones grow, their body will begin to shape into the adults they will become. Therefore it’s important for a young person to be aware of their own physical health and equip themselves with the right tools. With this said there is a rising need for backpacks that alleviate physical strain and my goal with Gon is to do just that.
As this backpack was designed for teenagers ages 13 + it was essential that I made a bag that was both aesthetically pleasing and functioned fluidly. Listed below are the key words that helped me define this bag;
Pleasing to use
Pleasing to see
This backpack had a lot of room for experimentation. Here are some other items listed below that I felt would be interesting to explore;
Alternative pocket for shoe storage
Safety reflective wear/paint
YKK Excella (Nickel)
ABS Piping (for a self supporting structure)
Sport Wicker Mesh
What Makes This Bag Different?
What is displayed here is an original concept for a load lifter device.
I designed this feature to work almost like a bridge, in which the straps sit above the trapezius muscles and alleviate any direct strain on small shoulder muscles. This was an important feature to include, as by alleviating strain on small shoulder muscles, the users body can direct the external weight of the backpack onto larger muscles and help them maintain the muscle stamina they need to promote a healthy posture.
Proper posture is of great significance to our health. Without well developed posture, we place ourselves at risk for injury that can creep up on us as we age throughout our lives.
Another opportunity that I decided to explore with this backpack was the sternum strap. Simply by using a sternum strap, it provides the user with more endurance and helps carry heavy loads by engaging core muscles. This feature is often ignored, as it is small and easily forgotten. I decided to pursue an alternative design with this feature when I realized it could help develop teenagers by promoting healthy posture.
The changes I made to the sternum strap are with its size and function. By making this feature larger, it tells the person ‘remember to use me’. This decision, to make the strap larger, also opened an opportunity to allow for an external ‘kangaroo’ like pocket. This pocket is extermely accessible, and allows the user to store items like train tickets, payment cards, keys, etc. directly in front of them for ease of use.
Key elemental features that I found were important to be apart of the design;
Sternum Strap Pouch; a pouch that can be used for miscellaneous wallet sized items
Cushioned Load Lifters; alternative load lifters that create height using a cushion for the the strap to pass over sensitive muscle
Front Zipper + Magnetic Buttons
Water Bottle Holster
External Pocket on top of Lid
Reflector Spray Paint (Gon logo on bag)