Industrial Design . Service Design
Our main goal was to design a product for social good, specifically environmental sustainability. We realized that a single product would not be able to address such wicked problems, so we knew we had to design a system around whatever product we designed. As we explored various issues around us with a focus on environmental sustainability, we arrived at an opportunity that addressed two issues at once: plastic bag waste and homeless freezing in the winter months. The concept was to up-cycle plastic bags into a sleeping bag that follows the TOMS buy one, give one business model. We would design a bag that could be made and sold in stores, and one sleeping bag would be donated for every one sold.
We looked at how existing organizations address wicked problems like the ones we were focused on. To start addressing the issues stated above, we designed a three-fold system. The Collect - Manufacture - Distribute system we arrived at broke down the process of collecting the discarded plastic bags, processing and manufacturing the plastic bags into sleeping bags, and distributing them to stores and the homeless in need.
Going into designing the sleeping bag we knew it would be made out of plastic bags, but didn't really know how. We got recycled plastic bags and experimented with tiling them into fabric, stitching them together, and using them as insulation. We found that they work best when used as insulation with a nylon fabric as the exterior fabric. Knowing that this would have to be a bag that we could sell and give out as donations, it had to have a signature look that people would recognize. However, because of the nature of being a sleeping bag that would have to be relatively low cost to manufacture, we restricted ourselves to a simple rectangular sleeping bag. This meant that our signature look could not manifest itself in the physical form of the bag. We experimented with different ways of folding and graphic patterns. We ended up designing a bag with a single triangle that symbolized our three-fold system and would be integral to our logo.
Our branding was inspired by our three-fold system: collect, manufacture, distribute. Triptych comes from the Greek word meaning “three-fold”, which inspired our logo design. We experimented with many different directions for the branding while looking for something that felt secure and trustworthy and incorporated the idea of three-fold. The final logo is bold and eludes to a tent like form that suggests protection and security. The logo is also abstract enough that it can be used in other forms and keep the same feeling. We choose a dark blue to invoke a feeling of trustworthiness that we felt was important to non-profit brand. The typeface is approachable and friendly to suggest that Triptych is a human brand.