When it comes to creating innovative products for musicians, leave it up to the industrial designers who are musicians themselves to solve some of the more infuriating problems of traveling with musical equipment.
Such is the case with Portland, Oregon-based industrial designer Patrick Triato, vocalist/guitarist for the band Bears. Along with fellow Portland industrial designer Drew Downie, the two have just launched the BND/One—The World’s Most Flexible Guitar Stand on Kickstarter.
Here’s a little peek behind their process of solving the problem of traveling with a guitar stand on the road.
Both Patrick and I have product design backgrounds, and I myself have experience in branding/advertising from a year spent in the experimental advertising school called Wieden+Kennedy 12. We both can see problems in our everyday lives that we can turn into product opportunities. That’s what happened here. Patrick was a traveling musician with a band called The Bears. He saw how often guitarists would simply not have a guitar stand with them during small gigs simply because it was such a hassle to bring one along, especially with all of the other gear needed to be carried. I saw another problem: the overall declining funding for arts and music in public schools. My mother, an art teacher of 25 years, was forced to move schools when her school cut funding for the arts.
Both Patrick and I, being creative people and music lovers, saw two problems we could fix with one product.
So we developed the bnd products brand with one mission: supporting great music from the ground up.
We knew that the guitar stand industry was one that was ripe for change. Most of the current stands on the market (although most of them work just fine) are still made out of the same basic, cheap parts. Besides some exceptions, there wasn’t much new thought going into guitar stands…and there certainly wasn’t much innovation. Guitar stands, although extremely important, were basically considered a commodity. Kind of like the thermostat before the nest came out.
The hardest part of the process was getting the right combination of stability with flexibility. The product was still a guitar stand, after all, and needed to hold up a guitar as well if not better than the current competition. Of course we believed there would be some degree leeway we had, seeing that any perceived lack of stability would be made up for in the sheer portability of the product. Even smaller guitar stands, such as A-frames, don’t have a neck holder that holds the guitar upright at all times.
Unboxing Prototype 3
We realized after the third prototype that we needed to make specific cradle’s for the bottom of the guitars. These “feet” would not only increase overall stability, but also provide a visual landing zone for people to aim for. Our original prototypes didn’t have these feet, and during user testing people seemed to not quite understand the best place to put the base of their guitar as they were setting up the stand. This was complicated by the fact that it doesn’t look like a typical stand already…so our goal was to take some of the guessing out of it and improve the set-up experience.
Are you in the market for a new guitar stand? Head over to the BND/One Kickstarter page!