In early 2015 we were approached by a small startup wanting to revolutionise the way cycling navigation works. Most existing solutions involve attaching your phone to your handlebars or by installing an unattractive cycling computer.
With a working, Arduino based prototype (housed in a plastic yoghurt pot) and an early version of the app, Blubel turned to us to design the physical form of the device and a logo from scratch.
Compiling mood boards enabled us to communicate ideas to the client and make early decisions on materials and forms which then guided the design process. The images above reflect the chosen aesthetic for Blubel.
From there we used quick 2D sketch development to show the client various ideas and potential forms BluBel could work in. Above is a small sample of our exploration which outline not only the style, but also different use cases for the device.
From the sketches, we worked with the client to select three strong directions which were drawn up in 2D CAD before selecting a final design to be used as the foundation for the final stage of design development.
To help BluBel make a initial low-cost prototype we used an existing bell to hold a bespoke electronics housing. This allowed them to create a number of quick prototypes for user testing, whilst also having high quality renders of the final design to show investors.
Our team also explored the 2D execution of the brand by developing various potential logo designs. Over 20 concepts were narrowed down to three in a focus group of target users.
The final design, as shown above, is built around a traditional bell that houses a separate electronics module which connects with your phone to simplify navigation. BluBel works by setting the destination on your phone before setting off, then putting your phone safely in your pocket and letting the yellow LED's guide you using turn-by-turn directions. The Blue LED continually points to your final destination incase you choose to go off route and explore the city whilst maintaining your bearing.
The electronics module removes easily for charging and security, leaving behind a traditional looking and working bike bell.
Since working with the Blubel team they have been working hard developing the technology and now have the device full functioning and ready for production. They have recently launched a Kickstarter campaign, so please support, share and read more here.
You can find out more about their story and the work that we did with them on their blog.