5 Designers at Nike Bauer Hockey : Time out!
5 Designers at Nike Bauer Hockey
Time out!
Stéphanie Dadour + Michelle Afif, October 1, 2007
Outsole
Outsole


We hear very little about them. They aren’t that well-known. Nevertheless we consume daily the products they create. The firm designers use so many particular ways in the conception of products.  We recently had a meeting with Pascal Martel, Jacques Durocher, Philippe Jean and Mathieu Contant, all four work as industrial designers, in addition to  Dominique Plante a graphic designer. They all work at the “centre de recherche et développement pour le joueur” at Nike Bauer Hockey in St-Jerome. The conception of the design is original, so is the creation.

From the moment our meeting had started, I discovered five designers both proud and passionate about their work. Pascal, Philippe and Mathieu graduated a few years ago from the University of Montreal with a degree in industrial design, while Dominique completed his studies in graphic design at the UQAM. As for Jacques, the dean of the place, he started developing Nike products sixteen years ago. In fact, him as well having graduated from the University of Montreal, he is today specialized in the certified protection’s equipment (casks and masks) for hockey after having worked with all types of products. It is them who have developed all Nike Bauer products related to hockey. This is how, and due to Quebec assessment in the domain, they are the only Nike creators to work outside the parent company located in Oregon.


STJ Design_Outsole
STJ Design_Outsole


STJ Design_Lance Armstrong Center
STJ Design_Lance Armstrong Center


A place in business for the designers

Creativity is a highly appreciated asset at Nike Bauer where the designers are considered as an inspiration source along the process of development. The firm’s commercial success pushed its managers to invest more time and attention in the designers work.

As a matter of fact, the designers are quite pampered. Not only they are equipped with the finest technologies but they are also in direct contact with the engineers, the marketing heads and the hockey players, what allows them to conceive projects both complex and complete. Regrouping in one space the different departments serving in the development of the products, allows each creator to work in the project in its development phase and in its prototype phase, all at once. This is how the internal exchanges enrich the upcoming of their intentions.


STJ Design_brainstorming
STJ Design_brainstorming


Moreover, these designers are strongly encouraged to travel in order to be up to date with the latest trends. This is how, the whole design team shifts yearly to the Nike’s “siege mondial” in Oregon, to spend enough time to become familiar with the equipments, the new developed products and the employees. In Portland where many big firms in the sport’s domain are established, the Nike Campus is extremely well-organized. Implanted on a one square kilometer site, composed of 18 lodges, this campus offers many services to the employees: homes, sport facilities, restaurants, offices, etc…

STJ Design_brainstorming
STJ Design_brainstorming


STJ Design_Protectio Supreme One
STJ Design_Protectio Supreme One


Furthermore, the car exposition’s visit in Detroit is one of the common destinations. The designers are attentive to innovations. The shapes, the colors, the technology, the marketing and the models present some of the assets that interest them. Each year, the team gets to visit a metropolis. At the late fall, the team spent around four days in the streets of New York. The goal of that trip was to familiarize with the citizen’s way of life. These trips stand for the designers as real labs from which they draw new ideas. In fact, they are often relevant of new ideologies: environmental, social, cultural or technological. They allow a better definition of the bases of the products to be developed.

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STJ Design_Evolution


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STJ Design_Evolution


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STJ Design_Evolution


Definition of the firm design

For the five designers, the definition of their job is the same in firms or in freelance. It is only the process of creation that changes. On one hand, the number of customers is bigger and wider. It consists of professional players of high ranking and of hockey amateurs throughout the world.


STJ Design_Evolution
STJ Design_Evolution


And on the other hand, many persons are involved with the product. The designer is not master of his ideas but the catalyst activating the passion of both the team and the players towards the new products. This is how; there are some series of persons to satisfy before finalizing the object’s conception; the developer, the marketing manager, the different markets (American, Canadian and European) and budget to stick to. It is mainly for these reasons that team’s work is unavoidable to succeed in the projects. This is when the designers are invited to present the advanced concepts or the ideas related to certain functionalities, technologies, narrations, details or scale of colors. Nonetheless and for administrative reasons, a project could be cancelled or transferred to another member of the team. Consequently, the designers at Nike Bauer are not considered as guarantors of the commercialized products’ risks. It’s the whole team that is concerned. This is what explains the many team consultations serving to ameliorate and review their work. 

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STJ Design_Evolution


STJ Design
STJ Design


For the designers working at Nike Bauer, the key to the quality of the products on the market faced with their competitors is to have a whole year to complete each of their projects.  The creation of sports equipments that takes place in five steps; research, sketch, briefing, conception and execution, allows them usually to specialize in the development of a specific product. It is during the meeting that they exchange ideas and concepts allowing them to create an entire line of items ready to be commercialized.

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STJ Design


STJ Design
STJ Design


STJ Design
STJ Design


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STJ Design_Evolution


At last, the five designers are unanimous. Since they arrived to the group, they didn’t cease to perfect their skills and their knowledge. Be it on the product’s conception level, on the technique or the ideas’ presentation, they have certainly improved their skills and sharpened their tastes.

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STJ Design_Evolution


STJ Design_Evolution
STJ Design_Evolution


STJ Design_Evolution
STJ Design_Evolution