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Lightweight, Versatile, and Modular. These are a few of the descriptors that came to mind when we sat down to start designing the Arris Travel Series. The pack took more than two years to design, with a dozen renditions sewn, and countless hours in the design room with our team. But what goes into the design process exactly? We sat down with Brad Meyer, the Design Director here at Boundary, to get the inside scoop on what the design process looks like.

What inspired the Arris?

My first priority was to bring a product to life that represents Boundary at its absolute finest, blending the highly technical functionality and sustainability distinction seen in all our products. Next, I wanted to design a product specifically for you, our customers. Embracing the minimalist and contemporary approaches of architecture, the design theory for this series was developed by better understanding the urban/adventure culture of our customers, and the nature, processes and elements most critical to you. The product’s concept was inspired by a classical architectural feature - the arris. Because at its core, the Arris series is the intersection of advanced materials technology for ultimate usability, ease and comfort. We’ve seen such an evolution in product materials, construction, and factories’ engineering capabilities in recent years, so we jumped on these opportunities to create a series that solves for peak performance of the adventure traveler. “In architecture, an arris is the sharp edge formed by the intersection of two surfaces, such as the corner of a masonry unit; the junction between two planes of plaster or any intersection of divergent architectural details.” – Wikipedia We further embraced this concept in the series’ development. Beginning with structural engineering and a strong suspension system that creates the defining spine of the pack, we then used the most innovative high-tech materials to form the pack from the interior to the exterior.
What problems does the Arris solve? We carefully considered all the likes and dislikes from our customers’ experiences with Boundary’s Errant and Prima product series, in particular the huge demand for a larger travel bag to diversify our product line. The pressure was on! So, we chose to focus on the key insights that would maximize the adventure-traveler experience: Lightweight - Most people are concerned about the weight of our feature-rich products for serious adventuring. We made it our priority to design smarter and give you the perfect kinds of features needed for comfortable travel. Plus, our advanced materials create an airier and more premium product.
Adjustability - One of most difficult features to build into any big pack is a well-forming adjustment system that fits a wide range of heights and genders. We engineered a composite frame structure and formed harness that can carry heavy weights and adapt to many different body shapes and sizes.
Smart Features - We learned from our customers that more pockets aren’t necessarily better. We took your feedback to heart, tested tirelessly, and designed for an optimal number of pockets, access points, and trick details to provide the perfect adventure-travel experience. Sustainability – This is a core principle in all we do at Boundary, but goes even further in the Arris series. Arris uses premium environmentally-responsible Bluesign materials selected for real durability. The series is also designed for complete compatibility across the entire suite of Boundary modular products to give you ideal customization with your existing products.

Do you have a specific process that you stick to when designing new products? i.e.: pagination, hand sketching, CAD, prototyping, etc.?

In ideation, I’m a hand-sketcher by nature, and Illustrator-conceptualizer by training. I’m a big believer in material technology, so I prototype with the base material for quite a while before jumping into the actual product design. This is the key to achieving your end vision when making a highly-technical product. The product weight, coatings, life cycle, and final aesthetic are just a few reasons why knowing the materials inside and out is critical.

How did you come up with the accessories built around the Arris?

The Arris pack is impeccably minimalist because we want to provide the user the essentials for starting off with the base pack. We invested a lot of time gathering feedback and testing for the most important base pack features. Then, we created various needs scenarios and specific accessories for each, like the Stasis Sling for increased capacity or the Tek Case for added technical organization.

Does the Boundary team give you any suggestions?

Our team plays a huge part in the design process for Boundary products. You can't design products like the Arris without team collaboration because it’s such a complex series. It’s basically all-hands-on-deck during the iteration, testing and development phases in order to get to the final product. Everyone is part of the process, because collaboration is how you create great products.

What is your favorite part of the process?

It’s hard to think of a more enjoyable part of the day than just throwing down pencil to paper (or tablet). As a designer and developer there are many areas to focus on and the day easily gets filled with systems, operations and communications. Giving myself time to create is so important, and having the ability to quickly unload my thoughts and relay ideas to my team or factory in the form of a drawing is very valuable and effective.

How do you get feedback on the design/product?

Everyone on the Boundary team gets their chance to dig into each product design to test and truly give good feedback on what works, and what doesn’t. We also take customer feedback very seriously, and that feedback comes from people from all over the world. Finally, we listen closely to and respond to all our backers in each Kickstarter Campaign so that Boundary products get you to your absolute best performance.

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