8th September 2015
The Bank of Good Ideas
Every designer has a ‘bank of good ideas’ – a cache of inspiration which is constantly added to and referred to almost as frequently. Amos Stanley, our R&D Team Leader, is no exception and, as everyone at Joseph Giles is encouraged to seek out the interesting and extraordinary in terms of shape and form, his in-tray is often over-flowing.
How this inspiration translates to a new door or cabinet handle for our range is a mix of art and science. Sometimes an image chimes perfectly with a business need or sometimes it sparks off an entirely new product.
Recently we have been looking to introduce new classical handles, so when these dado rail profiles caught the eye of one of the team, it sparked the creation of a new door handle which has gone on to firmly establish itself in our catalogue (view product here).
When considering the new product, we needed to not only take the inspiration from the visual elements of the dado rail but also the historical relevance to ensure that it is an authentic inclusion in a design scheme. We have to envision it in situ to ensure that it is perfect in every possible way. With the creation of our oval door and cabinet handles (view here), we saw these in use in an older, classical house. This drove us to create the door handle with a smaller rose than is often typical because, in Victorian houses for example, door handles were smaller and often less obtrusive as they were considered ‘for the staff’. To ensure that it was appropriate for its surroundings, our new handle had to provide a balance of classic good-looks and understatement that would make it relevant to the environment.
Once we have identified a potential piece of architectural hardware, a development meeting is held with our directors and key design team members to establish a product brief which is used to create the initial designs, drawings and 3D prototypes. We have invested in state-of-the-art CAD 3D software and 3D prototyping machines which enables us to really hone the design as well as get a good sense of what the handle will feel like in the hand.
These prototypes are discussed at a product review meeting, where they are subject to candid (but constructive) criticism by the team, focussing on the design and function as dictated by our understanding of customer needs. At this point, practical elements such as manufacturing and viability are also scrutinised so that we don’t commit to a product that is too expensive to sustain or simply realistically can’t be manufactured for production. It is not uncommon for concepts to be ‘shelved’ at this point even after all the time already invested, so rigorous is the process to perfection.
The handles deemed to have potential are revised and further 3D prototypes produced to allow for further discussion and allow options to be explored. Once we are happy with a design, further 3D prototypes are shared with valued customers to elicit feedback and further refinement if necessary.
One product that almost didn’t make it through our process is our new flush pull [view here] for sliding doors which has been added to extend the complementary products in the No.5 Ribbed Family [view family here]. There is something counterintuitive about a flush product with curves so perhaps that goes some way to explaining why this product was so long in development! Having feedback from customers about a desire for a sliding door handle, we persisted and, having got the input of the wider team, in fact were spurred on by the design of one of the sales team. It’s true, inspiration can come from anywhere! This helped to re-galvanise the team and we pressed on to get the product finalised. In fact the finished product doesn’t have curves – see here what the solution was.
From initial sketches, through detailed CAD visualisation and 3D prototypes, every new product undergoes a rigorous process to ensure it is beautiful, functional, economically viable and true to the Joseph Giles name. Through our design process, ‘good’ isn’t enough for us, we are always only satisfied with ‘excellent’ as we know that is what our customers and their clients need.