Geometric polygon backpack by SOLID GRAY

How is the iconic, geometric shaped backpack by SOLID GRAY® designed? And why does it have such a stealthy and faceted look? These are questions we get a lot, so we’ll tell you a little bit more about the origin of this unique backpack.

The information in this article applies to all backpacks: the Polymer series, the Aluminium series and the Baby Polymer

A high tech material

Creating a new design can have multiple starting points. Essentially it’s a real “form follows function” story. Starting from a design exercise. Where we’ve played around with a material not commonly used to create a consumer product. As we discovered new possibilities for this material, we realized we could create something original and totally new.

We’re always very critical towards our designs. For example, we keep asking ourselves “does that make sense”, is this a viable product from a functional point of view? These are questions we ask ourselves every step of the design process as designing just for the looks, just doesn’t cut it for us.

The custom polymer plastic we work with has the ability to form “living hinges”. (You can read more about living hinges here).

Using these material features, we were able to design with an origami-like approach. From there our goal was to use a bare minimum of material to create a backpack with maximum strength and functionality.

A geometric backpack out of paper models!

We love to work with physical models, rather than going digital right away. For example, we love to work with paper in the first steps of the design process. With this in mind, this project proved to be perfectly suited to such an approach!

We’ve made hundreds of paper models to find the right form. Those paper models give direct tactile and visual feedback. Specifically, they tell us how to cut the sheet and what forms will emerge.

The polygon look that logically followed from the design fitted really well. We therefore kept steering towards the stealthy geometric look for the backpack. Also making sure that features like the locks, the attachments of the straps, the hidden handle and many even smaller details made sense.

Overwhelming response

Once we finalized all the details, the first run of prototypes were launched online. The following ensuing response we got from design, fashion and tech enthusiasts alike confirmed we had crafted something truly special.

From there, we’ve kept developing and fine-tuning the design. It took more than a 100 small tweaks and 3-4 mayor updates were needed to take our original design to where it is today; a design classic in the making!