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What’s going on

What’s going on

The latest news and products from FLEX.

04 Aug 2017

Designing Red Bull’s ‘Petrol Store of the Future’

It’s safe to predict the automotive industry will change dramatically in the coming years as electric cars take over the market. This will have major implications for all the stakeholders in the industry. What will happen to the pertrol stations for instance, as people will mainly charge their car at home and at work? Red Bull – who’s been closely cooperating with the petrol sector for years – decided to gather a team of experts to find answers to this question.

Together with TNS, Instinct Laboratory, Wyne Strategy and Red Bull’s Out of Home team, we developed a toolkit for petrol station entrepreneurs to help them drive traffic to their location, after the main reason to visit – fuelling – has ceased to exist.

In this toolkit, the petrol station owners find concepts on the cross section of retail design, experience design and service design. Concepts that build on the specific characteristics of locations, as every location is unique when it comes to its surroundings, demographic profile, nearby retail, traffic situation and governmental plans.

These concepts were developed in the co-creation workshops we organized. In these sessions, we combined location characteristics with the extensive trend research done by TNS and Instinct Laboratory to come up with a large number of ideas. We thought about new categories that can be added to existing shops, but also about complete new destinations that offer people relevant reasons to visit a specific location.

The result: 15 modular concepts that re-invent stations’ value. Inspiring module examples: Module Runner’s Block – that facilitates running straight after work, DropOn/DropOff – a concierge service for all your small errands, Power Meeting – a room for super-efficient meetings, Dug out – to gather with your team mates before a game.

Red Bull aims to implement the first Future Station concepts still this year.

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An article about this project was published in ‘Petrol’, a magazine for the petrol industry. You can download the article here.

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15 Feb 2018

Meet us at the Industrial Design Business Fair (IOB)

At already the 20th edition of the Industrial Design Business Fair (IOB) on March 6 and 7, our team will be present to meet design students and share our passion for creativity.

You’re probably already familiar with our designs. At the fair, you’ll have the opportunity to meet our designers and engineers, who will tell you all about working at our design consultancy. They share their experience on projects we realize, brands we work for, our method of working and how we cooperate in our international design team. You’ll also have a chance to chat with this semester’s interns, telling you all about their internship at our studio.

At IOB we will give you an idea of the Flex atmosphere. For you to find out if you would fit in. Check our site for more information.

The IOB 2018 will be at the IDE faculty of TU Delft. Students looking for an internship, job or just out of curiosity can meet design agencies and other companies. During the two-day fair, you will be able to stroll around the stands of about 30 different companies. Check the IOB site for more information and the address.

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Contact Iris or Marije  for more information about an internship at our studio

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13 Feb 2018

Introducing Henriette Nørgaard Lauridsen

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We are happy to introduce the talented designers and engineers that were added to our team lately. This time designer Henriette Nørgaard Lauridsen, who we got to know as an intern.

What can you tell us about your background? I was born and raised in Denmark and have a master’s degree in Industrial Design Engineering from Aalborg University. I encountered FLEX/design while looking for possible places to do an internship abroad and got to be part of the design team for six months in 2016. After graduating I was given the opportunity to return as a junior designer, so I packed my bags and returned to the Netherlands.

Why did you pick this field as a career? For as long as I can remember, I have been a curious problem-solver with the urge to both fix and create – resulting in everything from endless birthday and Christmas presents for relatives to insisting attempts to assist my dad at home using the plastic tools from my very first tool belt. As an industrial designer, I enjoy that I can combine my creative side with other interests; keeping both my hands and my brain busy.

Why did you choose FLEX? I like the project diversity at FLEX, as I love digging into new knowledge areas, working with different product categories as well as different stakeholders and users. I believe that this creative agility is a big part of what enables design consultancies, like FLEX, to continuously add value for both clients and end-users.

What can we expect from you? You can expect an enthusiastic young designer with a flair for understanding users and different contexts. I thrive in a collaborative setting and believe that we can build stronger designs through teamwork and a hands-on approach.

What do you like to do outside of work? Lately, I have been doing a lot of solo traveling, which often adds a new dimension to the place you visit. If I can combine traveling with sports – even better! I love music and can often be found at concerts and music festivals.

We love to meet talented people to join our team. If you’re interested in a job at FLEX, keep an eye on our job page. You’re always welcome to send us an unsolicited application at jobs@flex.nl.

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06 Feb 2018

A-dam packaging nominee for an NL Packaging Award 2018

The NL Packaging Awards jury nominated our ‘tongue-in-cheek’ packaging design for A-dam Underwear for the final round of this young packaging design competition in the category non-food. The jury will announce the winners at the official award ceremony at Studio 21 in Hilversum on March 15.

The right pair of undies can make your day! That’s why the five young entrepreneurs of A-dam Underwear strive to make the best men’s underwear ever made: handmade, premium quality, perfect fit and made of organic cotton only. Their former pack wasn’t good enough to support this ambition and realize significant growth. We created the new ‘tongue-in-cheek’ packaging design, which reflects and reinforces A-dam’s brand identity: stylish, modest and responsible outside, but with a brave, naughty and humorous spirit inside.

Pulling the red tab seems purely functional, but appears to be mischievous once you remove the boxer from the tray: an unexpected piece of art is unveiled. A-dam invites graphic artists to create surprising artwork, using the boxer’s tray as a canvas. Of course, there should always be a link to the signature red tab.

Next, to this key creative conceptual spark, we managed to solve some practical issues on the structural side of the pack. The large window in the white box offers consumers clear focus on the pattern design. The red tab allows more demanding shoppers to slide out a little drawer to check fabric, waistband, and size: a must have in this category. They can close it again easily without damage, which is crucial to keep it nice and tidy in stores at all times. Moreover, while sliding, a small round window at the back reveals the boxers unique selling points one by one. A clever rotating metal hook outperforms many known hanging solutions in premium look & feel, without compromising logistic efficiency. On top of all these quality improvements, we realized a considerable cost reduction compared to this packaging’s predecessor.

It’s the third time that this Dutch packaging award competition takes place, awarding packaging solutions in 12 different categories. On March 15, the jury will announce the winners in each category during the gala awards dinner at Studio 21 in Hilversum. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

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Get in touch with Marcel for our creative packaging ideas

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29 Dec 2017

Introducing Niels Knippenberg

We are very happy to introduce the talented designers and engineers that were added to the FLEX team lately. This is senior engineer Niels Knippenberg.

What can you tell us about your background? After my IPD graduation I had a brief fling in the aeronautic sector, but quickly I went working for Ampelmann. I have been traveling all over the world putting the Ampelmann machines to work on offshore vessels for the last five years, so mainly dealing with operational tasks, client contact, etc. In the past period, I got the itch to go back doing what I love, which is designing and engineering.

Why did you pick this field as a career? Ever since my age was in single digits when I was asked ‘what I wanted to become when I grew up,’ I said “Architect for things!” Later on, I found out that it is called something different, but the idea remained the same. Since I knew this clearly from such a young age I found all career-choice-guidance courses very boring, except for when we could go on internship-for-a-day-trip during high school; I went to Flex! Back then it was still located in the center of Delft.

Why did you choose FLEX? I’ve always found the work of Flex inspiring, and in a right-time-right-place manner, we found each other. I’m really happy and grateful that I found this opportunity.

What can we expect from you? I have a good eye for the details, love elegant and efficient solutions to complex problems, and making other people happy with beautiful stuff in general. Probably most important is having fun with the entire team while doing so.

What do you like to do outside of work? I’m a fan of boardriding sports (snow, wind, wave, kite) and trail running. I love to throw everything in my van and drive to alps or ocean and chase the weather. I rather consume food than prepare it, and single malt Scotch is for celebrating times.

We love to meet talented people to join our team. If you’re interested in a job at FLEX, keep an eye on our job page. You’re always welcome to send us an unsolicited application at jobs@flex.nl.

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20 Dec 2017

Connecting the Dots in 2018!

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04 Dec 2017

Innovative Verstegen spices concept at retailer Albert Heijn

For Verstegen, we recently installed prototypes of a new self-service concept in the fresh produce aisle of two Albert Heijn supermarkets. Consumers can scoop herbs and spices themselves, choosing from 20 surprising mélanges. The lovely scents and beautiful colors create a compelling experience. Recipe cards for each mélange inspire consumers to create delicious meals. We helped Verstegen during the entire process from visualizing the first ideas to the realization of two fully functional wall-mounted units.

Dutch spices and herbs specialist Verstegen intended to launch a self-service concept for fresh produce aisles at retailers. In close collaboration with their team, we designed a modular system that suits different retail environments. Key was creating a unique consumer experience. For an authentic look and feel, we selected ‘woods and blacks.’ The system holds 20 containers with unique mixes of herbs & spices. Consumers’ senses get aroused by viewing 20 different color variations and experiencing the delicious scents when opening the transparent covers, scooping the blend of their choice. The cards with recipes complete their inspiration.

We enjoyed being part of the fast-paced design process. In close collaboration with Verstegen (and Albert Heijn), we developed the two prototypes. We visualized Verstegen’s first ideas, ensured that they were ‘retail proof,’ and designed the modular system. The experts of FLEX/prototyping made the prototypes, and together we installed them in the stores. Lead time: just four months.

Visit the Albert Heijn stores in Maastricht or Delft and try it yourself.

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Contact Robin for information about this exciting retail project

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24 Nov 2017

User Centered Design for emergency sanitation

Our Creative Director Ronald Lewerissa joined the three-day ‘User-Centered Design for WaSH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene)’ convening at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle. The participants came from every corner of the globe and had the opportunity to share their experiences and learn from each other’s methodologies.

Inadequate and unhygienic sanitation is a problem in many parts of the world. Many attempts to improve sanitation in areas without sewage fail. Not because of a lack of funding or inferior technology. They fail because the solutions don’t apply in the local context. For instance, open defecation is a problem, and the quality level of service and maintenance of toilets often results in severe hygiene issues. As this is related to human behavior, the workshop’s focus was to find better ways to develop solutions that lead to preferred behavior. We met with NGO’s, funding organizations and of course other designers and solution providers. The subject of the presentations and demonstrations was how to apply User-Centered Design in the development of better sanitation solutions.

Exciting insights came from iDE global. They demonstrated the effectiveness of proper research before actually starting to develop solutions. It offers a basis for real change:

When we told people that we planned to sell latrines, water filters, and handwashing devices to poor customers rather than just give them away, they didn’t believe it would work. But we’ve proven that it does work and that it works better than charity, because when people invest their own money, they’re more likely to embrace the change necessary to improve their lives.

Another example was presented by Joseph Kittingji from Sanergy in Kenia, which shows that preparation for User-Centered Design research is essential. There are the local practical issues like culture, habits, and language that you need to become familiar with. Another problem is the hierarchy between men and women that can make it difficult to have genuine conversations with the female part of the population.  He successfully implemented a new solution and overcame matters dealing with gender-specific needs, the lack of space in urban areas and the cost of maintenance.

Parmita Dalal from IDEO.org allowed us to take a look at the methodology IDEO is using. She talked about how they do their research and how co-creation with various types of stakeholders takes place at IDEO.

Ronald demonstrated our Design Game as a compelling and accessible method to involve various stakeholders (NGO’s, users, local entrepreneurs). We received very positive feedback because it turns out to be a great tool to analyze/research local situations and uncover the specific needs of users. It also involves the stakeholders in the development of ideas for solutions.

Additionally, we talked about the necessity of prototyping in every phase of development and that it should be considered a constant activity throughout the entire process. The eSOS system that we developed with UNESCO IHE is an example how prototypes represent the solution and how they change in the different phases of the development from a scale model to working experiments and more finalized solution. Each prototype can be used to get specific feedback from various user groups.

Focusing on the behavioral change, in many of the sessions a wide variety of ideas and methods were discussed. Inevitably some of the insights from the book Switch from Chip and Dan Heath were discussed, and we tried to apply them to sanitation as ultimately the objective is to make a lasting change in how people behave relating to sanitation.

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Contact Ronald  to learn more

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20 Nov 2017

Kverneland introduces new trailed sprayer at Agritechnica

At the Agritechnica 2017, the Kverneland Group launches their new trailed sprayer. We designed the Kverneland iXtrack T3 around the needs of the farmer. The machine combines high tech electronics with a compact design and a dynamic appearance. Our challenge was to align the design with the existing Kverneland sprayers and to ensure a more integrated look of the main body parts. You can check out the new sprayer at world’s number one fair for farming from November 12-18 in Hannover, Germany.

We designed this new piece of farming equipment, in close collaboration with Kverneland’s development department. We focused on the sprayer’s dynamic appearance and perceived quality, perfectly integrating its technical parts and systems in the design. During the design process, we continually thought about a logical modular build-up of all components like different tank sizes, platform, doors, etc. while keeping the user ergonomics all ways in mind. A consistent use of design elements in the sprayer portfolio guarantees a strong brand identity making the recognizable Kverneland machines stand out in the fields.

For seven days the Agritechnica 2017 will present innovations in farming. The iXtrack T3 is presented on the Kverneland Group stand D37 in HALL 5.

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Need our help in building a strong 3D brand identity for your products? Contact Jeroen

 

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03 Nov 2017

Seepje for bright and shiny dishes

Since 2014 entrepreneurs Melvin and Jasper successfully market their Seepje detergents for cleaning your home and laundry. The basis for these detergents are the peels of the Sapindus Mukorossi fruits from Nepal, which contain a natural kind of soap, that is released when exposed to water. They offer cleaning power and softness, without harmful chemicals. We created the sustainable packaging design, which will also be the shell for Seepje’s new challenge: detergents to clean your dishes. To accomplish this mission, they started a crowdfunding campaign at Oneplanetcrowd. Help them reach their goal and make our world a little better.

The laundry enthusiasts started fair-trade brand Seepje by marketing these Nepalese peels. Beginning of this year, they introduced a range of liquid laundry detergents and cleaners. Nepalese farmers pulverize the peels, which are turned into a liquid extract once they arrive in the Netherlands. The Dutch company adds only a few other ingredients for more cleaning power and a delicious scent. We created a sustainable packaging solution that stands out on the shelf and helped them successfully scale up.

We came up with the iconic shape of soap, of course, a wink to clean. This particular form ensures a secure grip for the user and reduces material use compared to regular detergent handles. The design, pastel colors and the soft touch all refer to softness. As you can read on the bottom of the bottle, they’re made out of recycled plastic milk bottles. For the new detergents in Seepje’s portfolio, we decided to use the same soap shape to build brand equity, with only minimal changes to bottles neck, size and detailing.

Seepje is collaborating with farmers in Nepal, who take care of harvesting and processing these peelings in a socially responsible way. In 2016, Seepje products regenerated an income for 60 Nepalese families. Help Seepje to ‘wash our world cleaner and more beautiful’ by investing in their campaign.

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Help Seepje reach their funding goal and make our world a little better.

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30 Oct 2017

Structural packaging for Ultimaker’s 3D-print accessories

With their 3D-printers moving more and more to a corporate environment, printer manufacturer Ultimaker needed professional packaging for their filament and spare parts. We created clever packaging that stands out, facilitates easy handling at their warehouse, is mailbox-proof for online sales and offers Ultimaker flexibility in this rapidly developing market.

Next to Ultimaker’s community of 3D-printing enthusiasts, lots of companies use their 3D-printers today. Ultimaker launched their range of filaments on branded spools (also our design), formulated to ensure the highest print quality and encourage repeat orders. They asked us for a smart packaging solution for their filament range and spare parts, like print cores and nozzles. Applied with Oak & Morrow’s brand design, we created a packaging design that helps them get their accessories to their users in the most efficient way.

For the many different printing materials in a wide range of colors, we developed two universal and straightforward foldable carton boxes for two spool sizes. It offers them quite some efficiency in logistics. The plain black-and-white packaging with premium appearance has a cutout with a neutral colored picture of a 3D-print detail, with which the packaging’s inside is fully covered. This brings the obvious advantage that any color of filament fits in. The sticker on the side reveals the inside’s details: a barcode, color, and type of printing material. Through the window at the side, you can see the filament’s color in the blink of an eye. Once the order comes in, handling is easy. New materials and colors will fit in the same packaging, which is essential in this rapidly changing market. For the spare parts, we developed a specific packaging, with specifics printed on the outside of the little box. Users, unpacking their product, are treated to a fresh, and vibrant color explosion on packaging’s inside. The box is mailbox-proof, which is vital to their online sales.

We value a long-term relationship with our clients. Together with these latest designs, we’re proud to say we created the structural packaging design for all of Ultimaker’s products. In close collaboration with their team, we developed packaging for their 3D-printers, all service packs, and accessories.

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Contact Abke for our smart packaging solutions

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