PRODUCT DESIGN, Visual BRand Language, Mechanical Engineering
Driven by the needs of designers and engineers who need a production machine, MINIMAL crafted a visual brand language for the X-Carve Pro, a robust, reliable, and professional CNC machine. Built for small businesses doing production, the X-Carve Pro is easy to use and maintain, delivers high throughput, and holds the high tolerances production runs demand.
BUILT FROM SCRATCH
Always in tune with their customer community, Inventables identified a need for a more robust, reliable, and professional, cost-effective CNC machine for small businesses. In addition, this new machine would need to deliver high throughput, require minimal maintenance, and maintain the high tolerances makers demand. Enter the X-Carve Pro.
Visual Brand language
The primary goal of the VBL that MINIMAL created was to develop a visual system that reflected the professional nature of Inventables' CNC machines. The design team worked with Inventables to align on a set of brand attributes to ensure both sides were clear about how the new hardware should look and feel. These attributes were translated into physical form through design explorations using the underlying mechanical architecture as a guide and checked through the engineering teams for feasibility.
The resulting design language uses strong proportions, precise edge detailing, and an overall reduction in part lines and fasteners to reduce visual noise. Together, those elements created an X-Carve Pro that feels robust and reliable, professional yet approachable, as well as safe and easy to use.
We meticulously documented all elements of the final VBL to the smallest detail, so future development teams could easily understand the goals of the design language and be able to recreate the example designs or create new designs with appropriate variations. In addition, the Design Elements included guidelines for form creation and modification, down to details like the placement of fasteners and maintenance iconography.
Cross discipline Collaboration
Design + Engineering =
In product development, design and engineering are often inextricably linked. For products like the X-Carve Pro, this couldn't be more true. Unlike typical consumer products, there are no true exterior housings in which to cover the engineering work. Instead, almost every part is visible, providing function first and creating the visual design. Thus, each engineering decision has design consequences, and each design decision has engineering consequences.
Recognizing this, MINIMAL's Design and Engineering teams worked together from start to finish. The teams collaborated with Inventables' own internal engineering group, hosting regular brainstorming and prototype sharing sessions at our studio. Every part was designed to the constraints of its manufacturing process, checked by engineering, and approved by design. We created an assembly strategy for each sub-assembly, and each part was detailed down to the placement and CMF of its screws. This process created a VBL that visually communicated everything Inventables wanted to say and had a clear line of sight to robust engineering solutions and manufacturability.
*Minimal created the visual brand language that led to the X-Carve Pro, but did not directly engineer the X-Carve Pro.
Previous to the X-Carve Pro, MINIMAL did the industrial design for Carvey, a fully enclosed, small-scale CNC machine created for first-time users and the educational market. From launch, Carvey was placed in maker labs in public libraries and high schools around the country.