Backpack ideation critique please

I am working on a backpack project for my portfolio and would like some feedback on this particular page.

Here’s the background info.

  1. Backpack project - the goal is a midsize daypack with focus on
    a) a unique innovative element
    b) target market…let’s say 18-25 year old male, urban lifestyle
    c) This particular page is a first round ideation sketch phase with focus on numerous different potential directions for the project to develop into.

    a) My original thought with these sketches was to focus more on showing a range of different innovations, while withholding any developments in the form, aesthetics, color choices department. The idea being that if presenting to a client, I would want to save these developments (aesthetic, color, form etc.) for a second refined sketches phase, so as to draw attention to the purpose and functionality of the pack first, and then integrate form, color, and the aesthetic. I used a lot of gray in this particular sketch set for this reason, however I feel that the set as a whole seems a bit boring.

In short I feel I am having trouble deciding how much detail to show in an initial idea page such as this with a lot of varied ideas. On the one hand I don’t want to over commit to a particular visual style, but on the other hand I want the drawings to be exciting and interesting without locking the client into a one track mind in terms of a visual style at such an early phase when there are so many different design directions on the table. I hope I have been clear. Please leave some feedback, and let me know if you have any questions.


Great stuff.

I think what you have is exactly what I’d want to see. You have some really interesting ideas there, they communicate very well, here is also thought for aesthetics, and would feel very comfortable if I were a client picking one to be later detailed.

For a one-pager, there is lots of great stuff. Depending on the context (ie. portfolio vs. real presentation to a client), I might be tempted to put one concept per page to give it more breathing space, but as a collection of work for a portfolio, I think this is outstanding.


I agree, really nice ideas, almost too much for one page. And I think the sketch style is very nice.

If it were me, I would just keep these black and white line work, with a minimal color/shading to show function, one idea per page… then supplement this with a mood board (or several mood boards) showing the fashion trend you want to pick up on or that you anticipate growing… then combine both into some polished concepts.

There’s a lot here in just one page and I find it very impressive. Good work. I think it’s a great exploration on some cool bag ideas.

I think the only thing that could take it further would be a little more focus. You have a great brainstorm on general innovations for an urbanite’s needs. That’s a broad consumer base, so your ideas are spread over a lot of people’s stories. Next step would be cool to focus in on one of those user’s stories and generate ideas around that user.

Ex: The Wifi booster would be great for a Tech Blogger, what else would that person need in a bag?

The tri-fold suiter back-pack is great for a Corporate Bike Commuter, what would else would he/she be carrying?

Just some food for thought. Your work is great, and I could see each bag being blown out into it’s own innovative product. Nice work.

I think that since you want this page to be more about the function, tone down the rendering. These renderings can be interpreted as styling ideations. If your intention is to separate function and styling, then I’d definitely tone this page down or use a similar aesthetic for all the ideas. It’s also a bit cramped, and I’m confused where to start looking.

thanks everyone. I appreciate it.


Cool stuff. That “fold-up” concept would also be a great idea for a bicycle pannier. Most of the garment style pannier bags out there are enormous, I believe intended for suits. But the way you show a folded shirt would make it very useful and not to large.

That “fold-up” concept would also be a great idea for a bicycle pannier.

A huge market in Motorcycle Luggage as well; most haven’t got a clue about what is really needed, i.e. water-proofing.

I like the ideas, but there are a few things I would change as far as in the communication of those ideas.

As a few people mentioned, there is too much content for one page. That would work if you create layers of information, meaning that you put more emphasis on a few sketches that you like, probably highlight the one closest to you selection for the final product. keep some color to highlight the functions as you did with the arrows and play with the sizes of the sketches.

And keep it low on the grey tones, some sketches are very nice and clean but are completely devoured by the dark tones, making them look more like a suggestion for a final product that an invitation to consider the idea.

I’m no professional, but these are my remarks :slight_smile:

I agree with Sem.

I think your should work on your hierarchy of importance. Have your favourite’s a bit bigger and in full colour, full saturation and brightness and try to reduce the visual impact of the back up sketches by drawing them monochrome or reducing the brightness etc…

This will make the good ideas pop off the page a bit.

any update on this project?

The sketch quality looks great, especially for softgoods. Sometimes traditional Industrial Design rendering techniques are applied that make softgoods look like solid reflective 3D objects. Yours look like they have solid body, but translate as bags well. Very nice for a portfolio.

Hierarchy needs to be addressed for sure. Either separate the sketches to make them individual, or make the more important ones larger. The color doesn’t bother me, but that is a taste thing I suppose.

Styling wise… its all over the place. I understand this is Phase 1 of many. But if you’re designing Italian sports cars, don’t sketch Russian army tanks for your client (your pack drawings aren’t THAT extreme BTW, just an example).

You should do some other sketches that simply explore design elements you want to incorporate into the styling of the product you’re designing. Research, get inspiration elsewhere, explore. Then start applying these findings into a theme, a direction of style along with your sketches. This can also come from your mood board as mentioned above. You don’t want to sell carbon fiber to a grandma, find what your target market is into, or make them interested in something they’re not into yet. Maybe you want to do a military/future technology cross over styling. What makes that styling? What details, what materials, what forms?

If your target market is 18-25 year olds, do they care about carrying ties and dress shoes? Your market looks very young urban “skater-ish”. What else could be inside that bag? Most important, find and/or create your target market first. That should be step one of any project. Design around a person’s unique lifestyle. Find out what objects fall into Guy X’s lifestyle. Does he hate iPods and loves his Zune? It’ll need a Zune pocket. etc, etc.

I’d really nail in the focus of the project. Who its for? What does it do? Who, what, where, why, how? They’re are a million bags on the market. What separates yours from the rest, other than a quirky feature or two? Why does a young broke 18-25 year old want to spend their hard earned $12/hr job’s pay to buy this? Real questions.

Very impressed by your sketching ability, and showing some eyebrow-raising features/functions in your concepts. Good work.

One more thing.

I love the add on storage idea. It would be perfect for weekend trips to another city. In the main bag you could have your spare clothes, toiletries, plane tickets etc… but could take the add on part out exploring during the day with your camera, jacket or hat depending on the weather.

Good work.