In parallel with design development projects for our clients, Envision’s original brand "Daga" is all about creating new products for ourselves and seeing them through to production and sales. In the previous feature of this series I heard stories from the design manager in charge of the Daga project, Takashi Okamoto, about production of the Asterope business card holder, Daga’s first product. This time we move on to the second Daga product, the SLING-5 iPhone accessory. You will find plenty of product development tips and sense a real passion for products.
Despite that experience, you went ahead to sell the 2nd Daga project, the SLING-5.
The Daga concept includes ideas, but also trying new materials and manufacturing methods (the right material for the right job). So, after a pressed metal product we tried sheet metal forming.
The manufacturing method is different? What is sheet metal forming?
It’s a method of simply cutting, bending and folding the metal sheet. We needed to search for a design that suited such a simple process.
Daga’s 2nd product: "SLING-5"
Incidentally, metal pressing is a means inserting a plate between male and female molds and squeezing them together under great pressure "BAM!!". The molds are EXPENSIVE!!
I guess it makes more sense to use pressing to make products in large quantities…? I was fascinated when I saw a press machine for the first time at Takeda Kanagata.
Thanks to Daga I was able to refresh my knowledge of processing methods. Maybe now I have more up-to-date knowledge than our other designers!
Projects like that don’t come along often.
In creating product ideas, knowledge of manufacturing methods is very important. Paradoxically, it can be the source of new ideas.
The idea behind the SLING - 5 was completely new. Its functionality went beyond merely being an iPhone case. SLING-6 was born from the popularity of the SLING-5… and, of course, another manufacturing method was used.
The 3rd Daga product, SLING-6, machined from aluminium
What is milling?
In short, it is a process of cutting away material from a metal block with a rotary blade, similar to a drill.
It was the technique used for the Macbook casing.
Yes. At that time it seemed over the top and caused a shockwavein the industry. Now it is a widespread technique.
It produces a lot of waste material.
The form of SLING - 6 is also difficult for milling, so I think that it was very challenging for the supplier. But the outcome was a product that got a big reaction.
I also thought that the appearance of SLING - 6 matched the iPhone well.
Normally, suppliers make parts for an unidentified product, so it was unusual for them to make parts that were the product itself and gave them a lot of satisfaction.
A lot of satisfaction for everyone involved.
That's right. It's fun to get a result born out of mutual dialogue!
Dialogue! Sounds good. It is a bonus to find enthusiastic suppliers. Was the next project, the crowdfunded PENVISE, also made with milling?
PENVISE was made by the same contractor in Sanjo as the SLING - 6. They told us it was easier to make…
"PENVISE" inspired from a pin-vise
…but, having said that, it was machined one piece at a time so must have been hard work.
So manufacturers are taking up various challenges for Daga. So maybe the challenge for the PENVISE was the crowdfunding rather than the manufacturing? The promotion was very well done.
What I realized with crowdfunding is that design and manufacturing are important, but the appeal of the product is even more so. Good promotion is vital!! The point of any undertaking is the people it is aimed at. That's the key for any product.
Even the best product is meaningless unless people have heard of it.
Yes, that is the most important thing.
So PENVISE's promotion was effective. Even with the cooperation of supports companies, the promotion itself was made in-house.
I asked the president *laughs*
It was done by Harry, Envision’s president? Nice job!
Now the Pen Vise is back with a sustainable new production method in 2020
Successfully crowdfunded in 2016
You have released quite a few products in the space of four years: that’s one per year…? Considering each one has started from zero and includes design and manufacturing…
Hmm, for me personally it is not enough. I would make more if I got permission from the company…
Even though it is an in-house brand, there is always client work, so not everything goes as planned.
It can get pretty frustrating.
And now… Daga is working on making bicycles. It took time, but we got here at last!