Tag Archives: high street bag

Meditations on first concept

9 Jan

Navigating the rivers of thought for a solution…


Of the 3 seed ideas from the previous post, through

looking and re-looking,

wondering and day-dreaming,

comparing and sieving,

I had come to a decision. It wasn’t one of those “Aha!” moments where instant illumination drops down from the sky, but more like a clear-water stream gently flowing and meandering through the expanse of random thoughts, cleaning out the landscape while at the same time refreshing it with clarity. So I thought I’ll share further meditations on the ideas.

The Green Bag

True. ‘Green’ consciousness had come a long way and now, more than ever, people are wanting more from businesses and governments in terms of ecological sustainable practices. So people might recycle and reuse the bags, fulfilling the 2 “R”s. But the third “R” would be more difficult – what incentive would they have to return these bags to the library? In more likelihood it would be tossed into a pile of other bags when they get home and another would take its place when they need to use one to carry books to the library. It would be truly lost. Moreover, if it’s going to be really well-designed and nice-looking to keep, users would have even lesser reason to return it. Encouraging readers to return the bag simply through advocacy would entail them to learn new behaviour which is a high barrier.


The High Street Bag

A great-looking fashionable bag would definitely get readers interested and start using, but it suffers from the same predicament as people wanting to keep them instead of returning. A rewards scheme for returns is certainly an attractive and familiar way of ‘pulling’ users towards a behaviour we wish to influence, though the budget implications may be huge. If budgets are low and the free rewards and gifts are perceived to be pretty ‘cheapo’, then there’s little ‘pull’ indeed for the again new behaviour they have to learn (‘push’ factors). Besides, what are the men going to do with these fashion bags?


The Book Bag

A book-like [book/bag]. Initially, this idea sounds ‘flat’, pretty normal or even average. On a visceral level, it seems to be nothing surprising, nothing too exciting either. But I feel it’s really more of something familiar, something easy-going. Readers are already handling and borrowing books at the library, so having to handle an extra ‘book’ [/bag] would be little obstacle as there’s almost no new behaviour to learn. If this [book/bag] can mimic the behaviour of other books, then there’s even less barrier of adoption. Technology (in the form of cheap radio frequency identification tags) used on the library books are already in place, and all this [book/bag] needs is a RFID tag like its book cousins to function as a ‘book’ to be borrowed. With ultra low-cost RFID tags in sight (based on recent research forwarded by local scientific institutions IME and A-Star), this will make economic sense as well. On a reflective level, the design can be crafted in such a way that would have visceral appeal to the public eye – imagine people walking around with ‘open books’ in their hands, always looking like they are in the middle of reading, living and carrying out daily activities while in the midst of reading. It would be a kind of buzz which would benefit the NLB brand.


What do you think, dear reader? My gut feel is for the Book Bag, but I’ll leave to the next post to highlight the decision-making frameworks which would help me decide with more [rational] certainty…



Brainstorms & Ideation

8 Jan

Unadulterated. Don’t censor. Have fun. More, more, more! Yes, it’s BRAINSTORMING (not what you might be thinking)…


OK! After so much musing, observing and trying to know everything there is to know about bags, libraries and reader behaviour, it’s time to brainstorm ideas for the design concept of the bag. I actually mapped out the scope of the design (or the “design brief”) and linked the ideas together in a really cool, zooming format using Prezi, but to much painful realisation, there isn’t a way to embed it on my post! 😦 But for those interested, you can also click on this link to view it (takes a while to load, and click on the “forward” arrow head to advance the animation). [31 Jan 2011 update: I found a way to host it on wordpress.com blogs! See the cool, zooming Prezi below!]


I’d always been inspired (in a geeky way) by Royksopp’s award-winning video “Remind Me”, in how they had made potentially boring info-graphics into a seriously cool MTV.

So to give you a cool way (I hope it’s cool) to view the design brief of the Book Bag, I created the Royksopp-inspired info-graphic above to tie together all the observational findings and the design criteria. I also didn’t want to forget about the various questions I asked through the past blog-posts, which would be helpful to guide the design concept, so here is it:

So how can I design a library bag which helps the reader and enhance his experience with the library? How can the bag find a natural place within the reader’s environment at the same time, so that it won’t be lost/forgotten?

Can the bag design incorporate some “reading” element or get people to read more?

What has play gotta do with the bag design?

[…] some of the designs are interactive and needing a human user to complete the picture, though by itself alone would also pique curiosity by ‘yearning’ to be completed.

So how can I design a bag for library users to borrow books with, but at the same time can be fun / entertaining to use / durable (since one of the criteria is for users to return the bag, and thus be subject to multiple uses) and lastly helps our public libraries spread their ‘brand‘?


Ideas, ideas ideas!

So after some rough sketching and doodling and incubating, I came up with three ideas for the library bag – here’s the marketing pitch for them (rough sketches included)!

1.  The Green Bag

A tote bag made of high-strength recycled/reused paper fabric. Green is the theme here – everything from the material to its purpose and cause is related to recycling and reuse! Tapping on the heightened awareness for ecological sustainability and the growing market for green products, this Green Bag calls all to action to the three “R”s – recycle, reuse and RETURN [the bag]!

2.  The High Street Bag

A fashionable shopping bag with a cool slick design, and an accompanying reward scheme for every return of the bag. This bag is coolness defined. Expect people giving you double-takes when you carry this bag on the streets. This bag brings book-carrying to a new statusphere of haute coutre. On top of that, this bag pays you for carrying it! With every return of the bag, you accumulate reward points to exchange for free gifts! Now, that’s rewarding!

3.  The Book Bag

A defining experience of a book, that also bags other books. This [book/bag] leads a double life shared only by its other superheroes – a normal book by day, a crime-busting bag by night! By tapping on our everyday visual and tactile memories of  book-like books and the way we hold, use and interact with them, this [book/bag] disguises itself by day and lives our everyday lives with us. But beneath its gentle mien is a character of super-human proportions. With a flip, it transforms into a bag to save us from heavy burdens! Fortified with its tear-proof, weather-proof Tyvek ‘armour’, this [book/bag] pledges to serve us ordinary citizens by easing us of the ‘crime’ of carrying heavy books in hand.


I think I’m having TOO MUCH FUN!!! Hahaha… okay okay, cheesy marketing puns aside, what do you think of the three? I’m inclined toward the Book Bag at this point…. and not just because its a “superhero”! 😀