Rethinking the Shopping Bag | A Think Tank Collaboration with the Pratt Institute

I recently had the opportunity to work with the Pratt Directed Research class on designing new bag concepts for the Think Tank.

The objective of the course was to explore and experience the role of research in the design process.  How awesome is that, right?  Many people don’t take into account the amount of research and testing that goes into a successful product long before it even gets shared at a concept level.

betabrand think tank collaboration for bag design with pratt institute

User Profile for the Betabrand Think Tank collaboration with the Pratt Institute

The challenge the students were given was to rethink the shopping bag.   Through observation, documentation, and interviews,they sought to understand the crucial role that our provisions play in our everyday lives. They assembled stories and recorded behaviors that allowed them to understand the culture(s) around us. In doing so, they were able to gain insights into the various needs brought about by procuring food and the various opportunities that result.

betabrand think tank collaboration for bag design with pratt institute

Ideation sketches in rethinking the shopping bag with the Pratt Institute


The class split into groups and worked on several mock ups of designs to try and solve the problems they encountered with the current working models.  They interviewed folks at stores.  They observed how people interacted with their environments and their bags.  We even had several video calls to discuss their process, bringing Betabrand directly into their NY classroom!

betabrand think tank collaboration for bag design with pratt institute
It was so neat to be able to walk along the process of mocking-up, trashing, and restarting ideas with the students.  The final designs are all very unique, highly functional, and frankly, just really freaking cool. I especially love how much visual representation of their process they share on their pages. Check them out in the Think Tank and be sure to vote for your favorites to see at least one of these cutting edge designs get manufactured!

betabrand think tank collaboration for bag design with pratt institute

Sarah James

Sarah James

Think Tank Director at Betabrand
Sarah was born in Madagscar and raised by a wandering tribe of Indri.It was this upbringing that sparked her wanderlust and eventually led her to travel the world.In Stockholm, she studied furniture cloning under the tutelage of the notable Ruben Rausing.Following that, Sarah took up residence with a family of phrenologists in Papua New Guinea before continuing on to help rebuild Haiti after the devastating rash of tornadoes in '02.Today, Sarah has found a home in Betabrand wrangling the multitudes of brilliant ideas that come into the Think Tank and assisting them on their journey to becoming top selling items.She loves almonds.
Sarah James

Sarah was born in Madagscar and raised by a wandering tribe of Indri. It was this upbringing that sparked her wanderlust and eventually led her to travel the world. In Stockholm, she studied furniture cloning under the tutelage of the notable Ruben Rausing. Following that, Sarah took up residence with a family of phrenologists in Papua New Guinea before continuing on to help rebuild Haiti after the devastating rash of tornadoes in '02. Today, Sarah has found a home in Betabrand wrangling the multitudes of brilliant ideas that come into the Think Tank and assisting them on their journey to becoming top selling items. She loves almonds.

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