In the modern world, creating a workable, commercial product from an idea requires creative ideation and precise expertise in product design. It entails developing innovative products and developing existing designs to enhance their appeal, performance, and effectiveness. Additionally, it implies reviewing the design, offering resolutions, and commencing plans to create a quality product for the global atmosphere.
Providing such exclusive resources is Bang Creations – An industrial design and engineering studio with headquarters in the UK. It collaborates with businesses that share its values of creating cutting-edge products that benefit both people and the environment. Its objective is to establish sustainability as the standard when it comes to creating technologically and financially successful goods for businesses that have a market entry strategy and require an inventive and ethical design partner.
Stefan Knox founded the business more than 20 years ago after working for the toy manufacturer Hasbro where he was lucky to have the means to hire various design studios to carry out his design ideas.
Whilst at Hasbro, Stefan studied business and marketing at night school, learning which afforded him promotion to drive future R&D development with international creative teams within the business.
Here, he witnessed that many creative concepts could not be commercialized as they were either too expensive or too difficult to market. He saw a need in the market for a design company that was not just imaginative and creative but also conscious of its business model. The studio saw significant expansion and assisted numerous clients in identifying the most viable idea to pursue swiftly.
The organization transformed its business model in 2012 to become a studio prioritizing sustainable solutions. In the process, enriching the inclusive standards and parameters of the in-house structure, the organization uplifted its clientele in 2018. Providing dedicated offerings to old and new clients to add sustainable solutions as part of their lineup. Subsequently, it has ingrained sustainability as part of its culture, and it became B Corp certified in 2021.
How could one incorporate such zeal? Let’s head in to find out!
The Head of the Company
Early in the 1990s, Stefan and Kristin Knox both earned degrees in engineering as product designers from the same London University. Prior to working for Hasbro, Kristin invented a solution for clearing litter from canals which she sold to British Waterways where she worked to oversee its integration. Stefan worked as a designer in lighting and furniture for a London business, and as a design engineer for Electrolux designing vacuum cleaners. Before joining her husband at Bang Creations (and after leaving Hasbro), Kristin held agency-side positions with London design firms and the handheld PDA manufacturer Psion.
When Stefan and Kirstin reconnected at Hasbro, he was designing toys for boys under the Nerf, Tonka, and Action Man, and licensing deals from Disney and Warner, while Kirstin was working on girls’ toys under the My Little Pony, Care Bears, and Sindy brands.
On returning from a business trip in the US, Stefan developed a business plan for starting his own agency. Within three months, he quit, got married to Kirstin, purchased a house, and opened an office. Later on, Kirstin joined Stefan in the Bang Creation Studio. Bang is currently an industrial design studio with 8 employees working on numerous projects at various phases of development, from early concept to collaborating with manufacturers on production order quality control
Revolutionizing the Industry
With more than 20 years of experience, Bang Creations is a top industrial design and engineering company. Its goal is to create products that are both technically and commercially practical while also being recognized for their commitment to social responsibility and the environment.
Bang Creations has three products that it uses to take an idea from conception to production.
Innovation evaluation tool – “The Who, What, Why, When, and the Four Hows” (shortened by its design team as “How the Hell…?”) is a framework that seeks out the answers to a brief that help the designer conceive of products that are both marketable and responsible.
The “Bang development process” involves taking a concept through development and manufacture and then onto a production line within budget, on time, and to agreed-upon quality levels. The team has engineered this process to ensure it focuses on innovation and social and environmental responsibility at every stage of development
The approach. Bang Creations has a multi-stage process that de-risks development and searches out feedback early on. Stefan says, “We lean on a wide, talented network that we engage early on in every project to further de-risk development.”
A Proven Work Process
The Bang Creations team has years of experience taking concepts and translating them into designs that are practical, marketable, and realistic. Viewing an idea from several angles is one of the crucial steps in the new product design process. The team must ensure that every possible execution has been taken into account, or else the wrong idea risks being pursued further along the development route. To do this, the team generates as many original alternative solutions as they can before examining each from the perspective of the customer.
Bang Creations is pleased to learn that its clients believe in its value, which includes:
- The company is honest and open. It is enthusiastic about its work and brings over 30 years of experience to its projects.
- It stays until the end. Development is challenging, but it delivers what it signs up to deliver.
- It has been in its clients’ shoes. It has brought its own products to market. Stefan says, “We know what they will go through.”
- The company has integrated a robust, sustainable programme at every stage of its development journey; it is not a footnote.
- Bang Creations has a tried and tested process that can show works.
“Bang brings creativity, integrity, and responsibility to the design process. It has been a pleasure to progress our products using them, as they constantly aim to ensure they are an investment and not a cost burden to our business. They listen and truly immerse themselves in the client’s needs. Not just a veneer, but their honesty and desire to deliver are skin deep.” – Alan Ward, CEO Evaclite – dynamic emergency exit signage that saves lives.
Initiatives for Sustainability
The organization enlists designing products that are socially and environmentally responsible as a key value of its business and has been for the last 10 years. Victor Papaenk, the Austrian designer from the 1960s, is quoted as saying, “There are professions more dangerous than industrial design, but only a few” (1971). Stefan understands how important our role is – Bang Creations is currently working on a diverse range of projects. These range from electro-mechanical products that help the elderly, a range of cloud-connected devices that help homeowners to save energy, to electronic products that help students with learning difficulties, all the while ensuring that they are designed for obsolescence and use the least amount of raw material and energy in their manufacture as possible.
Bang Creations works with its clients to ensure that what they claim they will deliver is accurate and achievable. This brings on two initiatives:
- A sustainable development review for the rising stage of expansion.
- A target-driven data and metrics indication on the project evaluation tool.
Designing a Product Creatively
Bang Creations looks to see how innovative its product solution is and aims for it to delight the end user. To achieve this, Bang Creations really observes the target market and understands what they think, feel, say, and then do about the problem it is solving. The company takes these customer-facing problems and turns them into design challenges. The more diverse and open-minded the team, the more creative the solutions will be. This approach is understood by Bang Creations’ clients and often wins projects not normally given to designers outside of the client’s industry. Despite not having done a motorbike before, its clients understood and believed in its approach and its process, and Bang Creations designed and helped engineer for them an award-winning, market-disrupting product. “If it weren’t for Bang’s agile way of working and lean structure, we would never have gotten the project off the ground.” Seb Inglis Jones, co-founder of Maeving Bikes.
Challenges of the Product Design Industry
According to Stefan, the biggest issue in the design profession is deciding where and from what materials to produce items. Production for Bang Creations has moved from the US and Europe to Hong Kong, then to mainland China, and is currently moving back. Manufacturing efficiency has reached a plateau, which has fueled the search for ever-cheaper labor to provide the same value. He states, “The key challenge now is how do we design and make products that people need that are designed for obsolescence and have a minimal negative impact on society and the planet.”
Bang Creations understands that there is a cost-of-living crisis and global political uncertainty, which are stifling innovation at a time when it needs it most. Its innovation evaluation model helps its clients tease out potential solutions to these challenges. The most important new technologies, in Stefan’s opinion, that make Bang Creations’ customers stand out in the market, are those related to material science and their various manufacturing procedures.
According to Stefan, one of the most fascinating parts of his job is learning about new materials and figuring out how the company can use them to improve a product. Although it has a commercial barrier, it is optimistic that costs will decrease as efficiency increases, and it wants to be at the forefront of incorporating them into products.
Advice for Emerging Leaders
Stefan feels fortunate to be given the opportunity to sit at the same table with some of Bang Creations’ clientele. According to his observations, successful businesses surround themselves with seasoned multidisciplinary teams and pay attention. He thinks it takes a lot of work to really have a product one has created roll off a production line, and the company thinks clients are best served by design teams that have actually done it rather than just being able to talk about it. He states, “The more projects you can do, the more valuable you are as a product designer. Learn the whole process and appreciate the product’s life journey from the cradle to the grave and do as many varied projects as you can.”
Visioning to Bring More Sustainable Product Solutions
Listening, evaluating, and implementing—these are the values of Bang Creations. It is working even closer with its partners to see how its service can help it achieve the firm’s mission. The company is engaging with its clients to understand their business needs and learn how it can align its development plans to help them meet those needs and be as flexible for change as possible. Stefan states, “We are constantly testing our offering through feedback loops and ensuring continual improvement in our process and approach.”
Bang Creations wants to draw in additional businesses that share its principles and needs a partner to help promote cutting-edge sustainable product solutions. Through its expansion, it hopes to establish a foundation that will expand its present assistance programme for helping new businesses and institutions learn and apply the best design practices. Most importantly, Bang Creations wants to continue to be a good investment for its customers.
“Bang Creations are ‘Real World’ not stereotypical ‘Designers.’ Stefan is enthusiastic and innovative but approaches design from our business perspective, not his creative ego. But it’s often unexpected events that demonstrate the true spirit of an organization, and Bang introduced us to an opportunity with no motive other than to support our business. We look forward to working with Bang as a management team long into the future.” David Redfern, Director, Harlequin Composite.