It was my pleasure to present to an engaged audience at the Trend + Design Center, at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market ’16. My presentation, entitled “Designing with Textiles”, explored ways that innovation and sustainability are integrated into the design process. The audience was inspired to hear about my experiences and about the tools that I’ve created to overcome risks and bring new ideas to reality.
Six elements of the “Designer’s Toolbox” include the following:
- Materials Strategy – Consider this as “Home Base” – the starting place where all materials lead back to. The strategy is a combination of defined consumer needs relating to the overall business plan. This provides an agreement of the essential elements that materials deliver brand connectivity with the consumer.
- Source Plan – This is the “Go-To” plan in support of the materials strategy – emphasizing the importance of partnership and collaboration. This framework provides structure for designers to challenge vendors with new ideas, as well as providing the brand with a competitive advantage.
- Materials Studio – Serving as a creative space for designers to get inspired and conduct research, the Studio works best when it’s organized by the way that the designers think. Approved and inspirational collections offer a place for designers to showcase new ideas and to facilitate discourse.
- Materials Design Brief – This tool offers a bridge of communication between the designer and vendors in creation of new materials. Clarity, priorities and critical information are combined in a way that offers fruition to new ideas.
- Foundational Palettes – The palettes are a starting point for new projects that build consistency for the brand and offer the designer ability to focus on other aspects of their design. These palettes consist of approved materials organized by attributes and price, and are a way to move toward more sustainable options.
- Higg Index – The index is a suite of tools that empowers brands and retailers with a way to measure and scale improvement in sustainability – based on their unique environmental factors. An index is a vital means that can foster connection and story-telling opportunities about the brand’s sustainability journey.
In conclusion, I shared one of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein…”One cannot solve problems with the same level of thinking that created them”. I encouraged designers to use these tools, and to take risks with confidence!