Sometimes when I’m searching for design inspiration, I look for articles like this one from the Gentleman’s Gazette. The idea is to focus on a specific segment of people and really understand what they have on them at any given time. Doctors, lawyers, chefs and business executives all have very different needs, so understanding those needs is a requirement if you’re going to design something useful for a specific type of person.
The goal isn’t necessarily to create a pocket for every single object in these pictures. Sometimes it’s good just to understand the scale of the items the person carries so you can size a bag appropriately. It can also be good to understand how the person uses the items that they carry. If someone is a chef, for example, and needs access to everything at once including their knife set, you might want to design a long and shallow bag. If someone is in a different profession with lots of small tools, then having more separators and compartments may be a better fit for them.
I’m sure you’ve seen other specialty bags around like a yoga bag, which accommodates a long mat, or a baby bag that has separate compartments for bottles and dirty items, as well as water resistant innards. A while back I went out for coffee with a couple and their small child when one of their bottles opened up inside of their bag. If it had not had a water resistant lining, the exterior of the bag and possibly their clothing would have been inundated with milk. The bag was also compartmentalized, so the diapers and other dry items stayed safe.
Sometimes its easy to focus on the exterior design of things, forgetting that leather goods have a practical use as well. However, if you can combine compelling aesthetics with great functional design, people will be all that much more enthusiastic about choosing your work over others.
While many Every Day Carry sites (EDC for short) tend to lean toward the tactical, there are many great sources of ideas available, including:
- What’s in My Bag, a category of posts done by Wired magazine founder Kevin Kelley
- Every Day Carry on Reddit
- What’s in Your Bag, a collection of tagged photos on Flickr
- A similar collection on Pinterest
If you know of other sites that are useful for showing what people carry everyday, please share them in the comments section below.