Our user's experience dictates what and how a product or service should behave. Ethnographic research (in-home or other observational studies), surveys, interviews, social media studies, and other tools help us to empathize with the user, consumer, and customer.
Auditing stores, investigating online retail, and analyzing competitive products reveals the landscape a product will be entering. Understanding the retail environment, packaging, unboxing, and customer pain-points associated with the products leads to important insights.
Insights and Framework
Combining learnings from phases of problem definition, research, and related knowledge, we develop key insights which provide a roadmap for what should be created. Insights on feasibility and viability come together to create a set of design criteria.
Iterating to create rich solutions.
Leveraging insights from research, we create scenarios describing how/when/where/why a product or service will be used. This is an important step to appropriately nail usability, features and behavioral fit for the context of a concept. Looking at interactions with other objects and environments will inspires new ideas.
Outputs: storyboards, user personas, user journey maps.
To unlock the best solutions, we must explore a high volume of ideas first. Through quick iterations the ideas later synthesize into deeper concept solutions. This creative phase usually starts with fewer constraints that can later be refined for feasibilty and viability.
Outputs: sketches, notes, mock-ups, rooms full of doodles.
The first step to making an idea real is visualizing it. Different tools and fidelity helps to align stakeholders, gather excitement, communicate with vendors, and present to customers.
Outputs: pen and marker sketches, digital sketches, digital graphics, 3D renderings, animations.
Refining and implementing the solutions.
Prototypes validate and test a design concept. Different levels of fidelity return different feedback from users and other stakeholders. This phase provides essential proof-of-concept for the designer, insight from the users, and helps with internal communication and excitement surrounding top concepts from the Generate phase.
Outputs: images, digital interactive mock-ups, paper or foam mock-ups, through to full "looks-like" and "works-like" models.
Refinement for Production
With learnings from prototypes incorporated, fine detailing for the constraints of production continues. The best result comes from close collaboration between the designer and engineering, quality, manufacturing, and other implementation teams. It is crucial in this phase that designer oversees the final adjustments to maintain the design intent through last minute constraints that arise.
Outputs: 3D CAD modeling, detailed and functional prototyping (3D printing), color/material/finish specification, supplier samples, and production parts.
Although the solution may be quite tangible at this point, design supports other key aspects of a launch. External communication to customers and consumers including retail presence, packaging, production renderings for marketing material, and graphic communication. Internal communication helps to support the launch within the company (i.e. for sales teams, leadership, etc).
Outputs: point-of-purchase displays and signage, packaging, videos, presentations, booklets, other graphic communication.
Wrigley's Extra: Mega Pack
Business Opportunity to Concept to Manufacture. (2014-2015)
Transforming Chewing Gum at the Front End
Working on site with the Wrigley(see bottom) global design team, marketing, engineering, and supply chain, Will supported the strategy, design, and launch of the Extra Mega Pack. Selling tens of millions of units since 2015, and winning the 2016 Ameristar Award (Insititute of Packaging Professionals), the package successfully innovates in the fastest-growing segment in the category with a new consumer-driven form factor.
The cross-functional team collaborated closely to develop the best possible packaging solution. Will helped ensure all details were considered, down to features like frosting the bottom face of the plastic to discreetly hold the required inkjet printed expiration dates (the ink doesn't stick to glossy surfaces!). The outer wrap maximizes freshness and on-shelf branding, while the clear rigid plastic shows off Wrigley's trademark stick gum. The inner paperboard sleeve designed to keep the gum standing through the lifetime of the pack also aids in filling.
Driven by Use-Case
Business needs, consumer insights, and white space in the market strategically combined in design criteria for the new offering. Marketing determined the new desired piece count, but other aspects were still intangible. Scenarios and use-cases of the offering influenced the proportion, materials, and form of the structure. The pack was designed for best presentation in-store and on shelf.
Proven through Iteration
Hundreds of sketches, renderings, mock-ups, prototypes and samples were created and tested in multiple rounds of consumer research. 3D printing and paper mock-ups allowed rapid evaluation of designs in-hand and on shelf through the process. Meaningful check-ins brought stakeholders along the idea generation process to keep scope and constraints on point.
Refined for Production
Working closely with Wrigley internal project leads and external partners on graphics, injection molding, plastics, adhesives, automation, etc, refined design intent into efficient, feasible solutions. Will helped the design team bring these different components together with 3D CAD development, prototyping, and presentations. A novel desirability attributes document was created to align teams and facilitate intellectual property processes, as the design shifted hands.
Learnings, Moving Forward
Co-creating with cross functional partners at every phase yields richer design concepts that are closer to reality. Design's ability to rapidly make ideas tangible helps overcome the challenges associated with a new product launch within a large consumer packaged goods (CPG) company.
Wrigley's Extra: Mega Pack is currently available at Target, CVS, Walmart, and other stores.
Wrigley: The Wm Wrigley Jr. Company (now Mars Wrigley Confectionery) is the industry leader in chewing gum, owning brands including Extra, Orbit, 5, Juicy Fruit, Doublemint, Hubba Bubba, Excel, as well as leading confection brands Skittles, Starburst, and Lifesavers.
Created a new brand and company focusing on premium competition wear for Brazilian Jiu-jitsu with the Paintbrush team. As a partner, Will helped envision the business, products and marketing differentiation points. As creative director, he created logos and brandmarks, designed apparel, designed web presence, managed artists, and iterated through specs/samples/products with suppliers. Paintbrush Athletic Apparel continues operations based in Bavaria, Germany.
"No Reason" Music Video
Captured the essence of the artist's song and direct visuals for filming the music video. Conceptualized, captured, and edited video. Song written and performed by Colleen McGuckin.
I am driven to create.
I've loved to draw since the crayons and sippy cups. At age 12, I started learning HTML and photoshop to build my own websites. In high school I wrote and performed music with 3 different bands, while taking fine arts class and doodling during the other ones. Finally pursuing industrial design at the University of Illinois, I led community building with our Industrial Designers Society of America student chapter through networking and skill-building events.
Partially because I was raised at a middle point between Eastern and Western culture. Partially because I still feel the effects of moving back to the US as a primary-school-turn-elementary-school kid and writing "neighbour" instead of "neighbor" on my spelling test. Partially because I recently picked up and moved to Germany for over half a year. It mostly amounts to my realization that people all over the world, despite seemingly polarized cultural differences, still have more in common with each other than not.
My years of experience training and competing in mixed martial arts, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, wrestling, and boxing has pushed my sense of persistence and self-efficacy. I've met some of my best friends and learned some of my most valued life lessons on the mat. There's something uncannily addicting about challenging myself physically and mentally with the commradery of like-minded teammates.