instagrid ONE max – design process unwrapped
The instagrid ONE max is designed and developed to be robust, powerful, and easy to use – so that you don’t need to worry about the power source and can focus on what you do best.
In November 2021 the instagrid ONE max was awarded with the German Design Award 2022 in Gold. What was included in the design process, and how has the design developed throughout the three-year process? Felix Fuchs, the designer of instagrid ONE max dives us deeper into the design principles and process.
Interview with our designer, Felix Fuchs
How the design of instagrid system has developed throughout the design process?
We literally started with a white paper, back in the beginning of 2018. Because it is a completely new product, there was no established “way of design” so far. We took this as a chance to rethink the look and feel of “portable power” from a new perspective.
The first design approach focused on building a working prototype to showcase the technology. Simplicity was the main aspect: easy to build, adjustable, good in handling, packed in a minimalistic design. This design enabled us to speak directly to our future potential customers: construction workers, installers, film makers and large companies as potential brand partners – the best input you can get.
From there on we tested intensively our technology and product design, adjusting from day to day, back and forth, always in beta mode. All this feedback is reflected in our instagrid ONE max, to make it the best product for our customers.
How long has the design process been?
The complete product development process took us almost three years. Tech development and design process were highly connected over the whole period. Throughout the process from the first sketches to design freeze, I as a designer worked very close with the engineering team to adapt new requirements as fast as possible and transfer them in the best way into our design language. This was necessary to launch our product in the fastest and best possible way.
What are the main features that were modified in the system according to customer feedback?
There are 3 fields which were the most important for our customers:
1. The ease of use: We designed the HMI as intuitive as possible. One main switch, a standard socket with a state of charge indicator and a combined charging socket with another outlet (mainly for event industry). I’m sure even a child could operate the instagrid ONE max.
2. Handling: No matter if you climb a ladder or if you must carry heavy equipment, it should always be possible to have your instagrid ONE max at your side. Solution: the sideways oriented, centered handle, which gives you the maximum amount of ergonomics.
3. Robustness: As a professional, you need to rely on your equipment – safety and a functioning device must be a no-brainer. So, for instagrid ONE max we went with a full aluminum (recycled) housing and added an extra layer of robustness with the aluminum frame. This makes the frame strong enough to protect the core of our unit, but also take on the damage if it comes to a mishap.
What is the process behind the visual design of the system – the colors, the shape of the system?
The world of tools is loud, masculine and communicates with strong colors. With instagrid ONE max we wanted to be the “smart” enabler in this world. The unit shows its strength with the frame, and its accessibility with a soft, smooth user interface. Clear in its expression.
The grey main color calms the overall appearance, so you can focus just on getting your work done. At the same time, the calm main color provides a canvas for the reflective color accents, which add a layer of safety during the nighttime, and represents the brand of instagrid on spot.
Concentrating on the essence of needs and requirements, each design element is arguable and thought out – one of many reasons why we were able to fit the complex technology in this compact size.
How the sustainability aspect has been considered in the design process?
Sustainability is one of the key elements in the DNA of instagrid, and therefore also in our design approach. There are three main measures we considered in making the instagrid ONE max most sustainable:
1. Recycling – We designed detachable parts where it is possible, so most of the materials can be returned into the recycling process
2. Repairability – The detachable parts don’t only allow the ability to recycling but give the instagrid ONE max units the longest life possible with maximum possibilities in repairability
3. Materials – For our main unit components like housing, frame, and plastic parts we use recycled materials.
Why do you think the design of the instagrid system is unique?
instagird ONE max is designed for professional use – it is the world’s first portable power supply fulfilling the requirement for this intended use. Therefore, also the design needs to stand out to communicate its excellence. Quality in design and materials reflect the effort of the development of this product. Reduced to the essence, instagrid ONE max focuses on the benefit it brings to our customers.