Nicholas Pennington, Chase Spaulding
Loop Socket Wrench
North Carolina State University
Loop Socket Wrench
Loop is intended for the modern home and entry level consumer. People who are not professional mechanics, and people who want more than just a tool that works, they want one that looks better than all of the competition.
A very clear, aesthetic and functional design solution to a everyday home tool.
Loop Socket Wrench
Loop is a socket set that aims to be a durable, quality tool set in a compact package that provides efficient organization, broad uses, simple identification, and all with an aesthetic treatment to set it apart from the rest of the tool set market. Loop is intended for the modern home and entry level consumer. People who are not professional mechanics, and people who want more than just a tool that works, they want one that looks better than all of the competition.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
The initial concept that spurred this project along from the beginning was the thought of giving a near future market, a tool set for first time and home users. Our thesis was, much like today's cell phone and electronics market, many future markets may reach a point where functionality is very tight race between products, so the product's design and aesthetics become a bigger factor in a consumers decision of which products to buy. Our challenge then became balancing making a modern, stylish, and interesting looking tool set, while improving functionality, increasing ease of use and organization, and giving the most uses in the least number of components.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
The socket wrench is a utilitarian tool with years of functional development. However, problems are still present within the use and application of this tool. The main functional issues we adressed in the designing of Loop, were socket labeling, tighten and loosen feature labeling, and handling multiple sockets. Function was kept as the main goal of each improvement, but the aesthitic outcome of these was also kept in mind. Beyond solving problems with Loop, we aimed to also add other helpful features not just born of basic problems. The core idea of our improvements came to be adding functions and tools, without physically increasing the number of tools within the set. The features which were added were all chosen in order to increase efficiency, add value, and simplify Loop in use as well as in form. In a field dominated by masculine tools we wanted to make a gender-neutral socket wrench that appeal to a larger consumer base. In line with this focus was the idea that this toolset should be just as at home in a kitchen drawer as it would be in the toolbox or the car. The idea was to not only make a socket wrench which was intuitive for home and entry-level consumers but also had features like labeling which clearly indicates how to switch between tighten and loosen, which enable new tool users become proficient enough to not even need to reference the labeling later on.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
The design process was based on iterative cycles of exploration, centered around several areas consideration. Our biggest consideration of course was that in the future as products in the tool market reach feature parity with each other, design and aesthetics become a bigger factor in a consumers decision of which products to buy. The intended audience for this product will be the new market which will emerge as today's youth age and transition from rental housing to home ownership. This is a group for which design and aesthetics have become a bigger factor in which products they buy, since they've grown up with an electronics market which has competed for their money not only through features but through aesthetics. There was intense iteration when it came to the form of the socket wrench. We struggled with maintaining a form which was gender neutral and modern, while still communicating its function as a tool. To achieve this we went with modern, geometric and smooth physical shapes, and introduced more sophisticated surface finishes, colors, and contrasting elements into the tools to both look and feel nicer than competing products. We looked into what are the most common colors visible to the colorblind. Since blue and yellow are the most commonly visible, we tried to stay as close as possible to these colors when choosing the main colors for the sockets, which are blue and yellow-green, while maintaining our design vision. The focus of this project was user-centric. Of course some considerations had to made for manufacturability but very few compromises were made in terms of how product looked and functioned.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
The Loop carves out a position for itself in the future since it looks beyond the current trend of its market and looks instead to the buying trends of the next generation of consumers. This product taps into how a modern socket set is used. When it comes to socket management The loop goes beyond being intuitive to use with features like labeling which clearly indicates how to switch between tighten and loosen, and becomes a tool for self-education. Allowing you to use other socket wrenches.