open source design action... IRON-MAN

Hi all…

It´s been awhile since my last post and since the freelance employment action is rather low up here, I decided to start this project to keep up the skills and to find alternative means to destroy the last bit of my freetime…

I noticed that there are already approaches in designing a Steam iron , but as I have been interested in placing strategic points where they belong, I decided to create one for men. That is why it is called IRON-MAN

I try not to be too serious and i try to create the piece bit by bit, so this is why it is not finalized yet. You can see now some sketches I have made, please comment and crit! at the moment I am still making formal explorations, but the basic form starts to be ready.

Thank you for your attention.

Visit: Ville Ylläsjärvi, user and brand oriented strategic design in Oulu, Finland there will be more to come!

sorry for the first post without images…

project taking a new step… I took a few minutes to start catching the moods of the product and start building towards more detailed designs…

Is it true that there is nothing to crit? :wink:

All really nice sketches.

I like a lot of the details, nice form exploration. I’m not sure the overall silhouette you are exploring is masculine though. Right now, the outline is a bit like a bunny rabbit. Maybe explore some pure side silhouettes for awhile. On your first post, 2nd image, their is a sketch, 2nd up from the bottom on the right, that has more of an enclosed form, the handle is attached on both sides, something like this might be better.

You might also do an image board and fill it with male skewed products to capture some of what you are looking for.

i would be a little wary of using a steam iron that made me feel i was gripping somebody’s thumb.

some questions

  1. what do you hope to improve (in this particular area)
  2. who are you targeting - regular ironers, once in a way chaps, etc
  3. what will appeal the most to them - flashy stuff? or the reassurance that it is safe, comfortable, and theirs - its all about the mood you set
  4. does it look like it will actually work? i saw an ad for an (philips? siemens?) iron that had steam coming out of pores, and forming “steam hands” that were pressing the cloth. maybe you dont have to go that far, but again i think it boils down to convincing your target audience that your companies product is better than the others.

thank you for the advise and good points of views!

Actually I was hoping to get on the styling bit later and now I still like to sketch the usability and generic user acceptance via some semanthics etc.

what would make a male product, where does the formal language come from? what would be the best possible way of creating the product architecture… is the product passive or actively telling you where to go?? these questions go through the circulation of concept generation…

It is true that the closed handle is good for handling, but somehow I would like to retro a bit and take the handle theme for this sketching round and concept from one 80´s Iron I remember from my childhood… Also this user interface supports the handle form…

but this thumb relation yenomoris pointed out was just something I thought would direct the user perhaps… what is easily at hand is easy to use…


  1. I hope to make easier usability, create a concept with well thought out details, vision a little towards a future iron, not perhaps think the engineering department at first…

  2. these guys that usually carry their clothes to a dry cleaner´s, usually Mom has ironed all the clothes, time to buy the first iron…

3)one cannot really touch the aesthetic appeal knowing the effect, but perhaps the design language will have something to do with this German engineering - looks (Audi, Braun) :astonished:

4)hopefully it will have this appearance of iron supertool, ready to conquer the world!! Acceptance in this could come from the feel of material, the craftmanship of all the seams, the overall “tool-like” quality. This one does al lot!

but still I think it is a long way towards completion and ideation is going on. Hopefully some visually stunning is going to be created here.

Thank you for the comments, I feel the discussion is starting to move towards an open chat around “male products”, usability and overall design theme.

let´s keep on going (whenever there is time…)

but to continue with the sketching again, another fast sketch on the design identity. sculpted exterior and feeling of speed? also some ocean-submarine theme.

to be continued…

And again… I had some time, so I decided to do a sketch, trying to capture some of the masculine elements, material and formwise. Comment!

I don’t know man… looks a little too:

It also looks very complicated. While techy is usually associated with male purchases, I also think that ironing is complicated, and difficult for guys, something that looked simple, but masculine could be the way to go… like in this visual realm:

I would say it could be more in the vein of something that is simple, less stylized.

For instance I would say this is a masculine doorstop:

what happened? :sunglasses: moderated posts are the essence of lively conversations…

However, the masculine thing on this block of steel perhaps is the robustness and also the “engineerkinda” look… Perhaps masculinity should, however, come from some other things than weight presence in steam irons. I started figuring out this design language, even though in the usage of glossy parts with some Matte is always nice, perhaps the direction should be taken towards stealth military equipment for example. Perhaps a steam iron should not be like some flashy sports equipment.

sorry about that, I meant to edit and paste that into my own post.

I accidentally inserted it into your post… my bad, I’m very sorry about that. I corrected the original.


No hard feelings, of course I realized that it was an accident.

However, the sketch again reminded me of the fact that NEVER_OVERSKETCH_YOUR_IDEAS

I must write a post on this on defferent topic. sketching too accurately in an early stage might give the feeling of a ready thought out product.

Thank you Yo for the reply and crits!


If this is a styling exercise, I recommend starting with some mood boards to capture the style of the target audience. What kind of cars do these people drive? I’m guessing this isn’t the Ford F150 set (the best selling vehicle in the US by the way.) What kind of electronics to they buy? What kind of appliances do they own?

If this is a design exercise (ie. new features), I recommend exploring the unique needs of men who iron. Start with: why do men iron? What do they like/hate about ironing? Now explore other ways they can achieve their goal.

I agree with CG…

I think another question to answer would be:

Why don’t most men iron?
When do they iron? (for me it is always 15 minutes before I have to actually put on a tie…) that might bring you somewhere.

For guys that have to wear suits a lot (IE my Pop) many of them just get all of their shirts pressed. Many large office buildings often have dry cleaning/pressing services.

Would the ultimate men’s iron be a collection of clothes that are wrinkle proof?

Hi, and thank you for the thoughts!

To CG, There are right thoughts, My Idea here is not to make a styling exercise, but to leave the research side perhaps for a little less attention in presenting the goods over the net. visual images one can show easily, but perhaps the thinking I would, in this case leave to my self. Of course, if one goes through the sketches really detail concentrated, something can be found. Also trying to find some male design language is one of the purposes here.

In addition, showing moodboards over the net, mostly using other peoples imagery would be quite grey zone?

And going from what people own to what they would like to own, would ease it a bit?

I have tried to explode the needs in smaller pieces, so that they can be more easily answered.

The ideation has been quite concentrated on these questions I made in the beginning and now I am trying to answer all these questions…


Not doing Ironing is the obvious choice, but what if someone is forced to do it?? Just going for the easy, maleproof ironing then, perhaps…

I agree on the 15 minutes fact and the morning business… Always need to get somewhere fast. Also the adjusting of the Iron should be made easier.
One cannot really forget the possibility of forgetting the iron on the ironing board, what happens?

Styling will come, eventually, hopefully I will have time before summer actions to get more completed designs.

However, Thank you!


Perfect, focus on that.

Having just ironed, I can tell you that the things I disliked were…

  1. The effort of the setup and take-down.
  2. The location: close to an electrical outlet isn’t convenient/ideal
  3. Filling the iron with water. Difficult to do, and seems dangerous
  4. Positioning the garment so that I don’t accidentally crease it, and so it doesn’t slide off the board
  5. Storage of Iron, board, starch, water cup
  6. Poor design of the ironing board: no place to hang shirts, no place to hold iron, starch, not well shaped for the job, difficult to fold/unfold, loud, ugly

I like the built-in sprayer and steamer. I wish it would also spray starch.
I wish the steam could come out constantly instead of bursts so I could use it more often with clothes ‘on the rack’
I like the ‘button saver’ design of the heat plate.
I like being able to see the water level.

I definitely don’t want to leave the iron or board out in plain site. Unlike other appliances, they’re stored haphazardly.

I frequently just want to remove a few wrinkles and will try to steam them out while on the hanger. Sometimes I wished I had a little vertical ironing board right in the closet for that purpose alone (imagine a totally vertical setup for small jobs, where everything is always ready to go–no setup.)

nice project and interesting concept.

i do like the design exploration you’ve done so far, but arent really feeling the specific (men) focus you’ve set up for yourself.

like Yo mentioned, how about some more exploration into the when/where that men iron. how about more exploration of “masculine” forms (iron to be groped like a woman’s ???, power tools, car stuff, electronics, gun), weight (heavy?) color (black, stainless steel)?

personally, i really actually like ironing (peaceful mindless job- good for day dreaming about concepts), but agree that isnt arent too much product out there for “they boys”. you can get “hi-design” kettles (porsche-siemens), heavy duty mixers (krups, kitchen-aid), and almost everything else, but if there are decent irons out there, i havent seen them (and have looked).


Posted: Mon May 14, 2007 7:09 pm Post subject:

personally, i really actually like ironing (peaceful mindless job- good for day dreaming about concepts), but agree that isnt arent too much product out there for “they boys”. you can get “hi-design” kettles (porsche-siemens), heavy duty mixers (krups, kitchen-aid), and almost everything else, but if there are decent irons out there, i havent seen them (and have looked).

There is the point for the whole project… Of course, the easiest way would be just sneaking into porschedesign design language and copying one of the toasters etc… however, I just want to try different approaches here… I did some sketching again and here is a result… Went into armors and weapon industry, so something from there. maybe a bit grotesque…

thank you all for nice feedback!! it is always nicer to continue, when someone is giving qritique. As one is a beginner in the design field, building up skills and thinking perhaps needs some mentoring and constructive critics.

more to come! Soon perhaps starting with the first sketch level modelings… -once the design language and design concept starts to give promising signs.

Id also look to power tools for some inspiration. id use a dewalt iron. :slight_smile:

With an 18v battery pack no less! Genius.

Why isn’t there an Iron that uses Induction heat?

This would be a great opportunity for designing an integrated iron/board solution. If the board was plugged in instead of the iron, it means the iron would be cordless. The induction would also mean instant heat, tight temperature control, and less burn-risk.