Picture of conception designs

Creativity & good ideas: the first steps of the product concept

We have observed the sports user. We know what they want and need. We can start the creation phase!Yes, we put our sports clothing or equipment through quite a few stages before arrival in our sales departments. At first, these are just concepts by the way. We refer to them as a “product concept”.

Picture of teammates during meetings

Functional specifications

The guiding principles of product design

Once the needs are defined, we draft the functional specifications. It sums up very clearly the qualities that the future product must have: who it is intended for, how it will be used, what its benefits and features must be, its price, its design and production stages and the human and technological resources required. We don't yet know what the product will look like, but we do know what problems it must solve.

The functional specifications form the basis of our project. It prevents us from losing sight of all the future product's features.We refer to it at every stage of its creation.

Picture product testing lab

Spotlighting product benefits

Have you seen, in the sales department or online, the small pictograms associated with our products?These are product benefitsIn-house, we say PB. What are they and what are they for? In a way, it's a product's ID.It says a lot about its technical features.

Knowing what a product's technical features are, allows you to choose according to how it's used. If you go hiking in the mountains and carry your tent during the trip, you are better off choosing a lightweight product.If you pitch up for a week in the same camp site, then you'll put the emphasis on comfort and living space. It's as simple as that.

All the benefits of a product are lab and field tested! And even with external certification organisations!

In the picture: Example of a waterproofing test on snow hiking boots carried out in our shoe design centre.

Picture conception design drawing

Brainstorming & workshops

Imagining the product concept!

The functional specifications are ready. We launch the creation phase: research, debate, ideas, etc.

Our aim: define a feasible product concept that must answer a specific need.
For example: a runner needs to be seen in the dark. What would be the solution? What would be the right product?

We combine our ideas to be creative. Brainstormings and workshops are organised, keeping the best suggestions. And we start to imagine the product concept.

In the picture: From a workshop’s drawing, our creative minds create the first mock-ups. 

Picture of a conception drawing

Did you know?


What is computational design?It's simply computer aided design.

Before, we drew the future product by hand. Today, we use computer aided design (CAD) software to visualize the product in 3D on our computer screens! And CAD doesn't just do 3D rendering. It also gives us access to additional detailed data. We no longer have to do engineering calculations by hand, because we now have "software suites" that do it for us.

Computational design is therefore quite simply a complementary tool for designing our products!

Picture of textile samples

Mock-up and prototypes

The product concept takes shape!

The product concept looks feasible. We make it happen by producing the prototype. It is not a final version of the product, but it brings a sketch to life, allowing us to approve certain features: shapes, colours, components, use it in activity, etc.

First, we make a first prototype, called a “mock-up”, often with scrap materials.It serves to illustrate the product concept.

Then we create on average tens of others, to refine and approve each product's function, whatever its nature: textiles, footwear, equipment, accessories, etc. We talk about design prototypes. If all goes well, we pursue the product's development. If that doesn't work out, we think of other options.

When we prototype, we also think in terms of the products' mass production. Our prototype technicians make sure that manual or machine operations are easily duplicable in our subcontractor's factories. The purpose is also to optimize assembly methods, reduce costs, and guarantee product safety and quality.

We often make our prototypes in-house in our prototyping workshops. It saves a lot of time, because we reduce, in particular, the return trips to the supplier. And to finalize the product, we have some prototypes made. They are produced in the factory, in real-life manufacturing conditions, on the machines used for mass production. Further use is made of them for other tests and for anticipating possible problems during production, etc.


Did you know?

In total, we have 25 prototyping workshops, including 21 in France. Each has its specificities and specialises in one or more processes (textile, metal, plastic, etc.) or product(s) (bicycle, ski, footwear, etc.)Depending on the requirements, these workshops are called upon in the early stages of product development and others during industrialisation.

In the picture, our Btwin Village prototyping workshop where designers can bring life to their ideas. .

Spotlighting the easybreath prototypes

You probably know our famous Easybreath snorkel mask? Do you know the story about its design?

After conducting a study on beaches in Europe, China and Brazil, our design team we're faced with the conclusion that: we often perceive snorkelling as hard. This is subsequently how the Easybreath project was born! By designing and "testing" different prototypes, we managed to develop the product version you now know today, allowing thousands of people to get over their fear and encouraging them to benefit, like us, from the wonders on the seabed. We show you how the prototypes evolved. Here are 6 of them. In actual fact, 30 prototypes were needed to come up with the final version of Easybreath.

Picture of easybreath  prototypes

1. The mock-up illustrates the concept of the face mask with a built-in snorkel.
2. After the 1st tests, the design team identified anomalies caused by the curved mask lens, which disturbed vision and made people feel sick.
3. The field of vision was enhanced. The anomalies were ironed out by replacing the curved mask lens with a flat one.
4. This version solved the issue of condensation building up on the lens and was fully functional.
5. The last prototype is functional and integrates a part of the final design.
6. The Easybreath currently available in store.

Picture of the 3D lab

Spotlighting the addlab


Next step:

Picture of choices of fabrics

The right product: a story about making the right choices

Designing a product is about making lots of choices while always trying to make the best ones. We're going to explain a bit more about our technical, sensory and aesthetic choices!