Bookmark Product Development & Manufacturing Episode
In this page, we are introducing a simple bookmark “Bookmark” (bookmark used with small felt) with felt decorations. It is manufactured by Izumi ( Suginami Izumi Second which is NPO company categorized as employment continuation support type B business office) in Tokyo. For more information about the development / manufacturing episode of “Bookmark”, we asked Ms.Watanabe a staff member in Izumi, and designer Mr. Hoshiko.
Please tell us about the concept and the trigger you came up with items you designed.
Hoshiko: First of all, I will tell you from beginning with eqaulto. When I applied for equalto award 2014, a product called “Teruteru” (teruteru bozu shoehorn) got award and was released. . I’ve been interested in making things for people with disabilities(PwDs) since before and have wanted to participate in such projects for a while.
equalto team staff: Good to know it. What brought you to the point of this interest?
Hoshiko: My older brother worked at a special support school, and I was listening to stories about his school life frequently. I have visited the school and thought that maybe I could help a class of crafts or something.
equalto team staff: you had that kind of connection with PwDs. What kind of attention did you pay during development of the product “Bookmark”?
Hoshiko: In terms of “Teruteru”, we cooperated with the facility to create a design that requires hands-on advanced techniques, such as making the silhouette as symmetrical as possible. On the other hand, this time for “Bookmark”, I aimed at a warmful product with high degree of freedom or unique as handmade. Also, by taking advantage of the experience of “Teruteru”, I tried to design based on conscious of “barrier free for craftsman”.
equalto team staff: You could take full advantage of your previous experience to design service-user-friendly design.
Any thoughtful points during product development?
Hoshiko: At the time of “Teruteru” I visited the facility AFTER the design was decided. However, to put emphasis on “barrier free for craftsman” in this time, we visit the facility Izumi, BEFORE I began thinking about the design.
Mr. Watanabe: How was it when you visited the facility?
Hoshiko: I felt that people in facility are quite active and lively. Therefore, I would like to make more the service-users* to enjoy their craft work by producing “Bookmark”, which is used by Izumi’s strong goods, felt ball.
*People with disabilities who come to the workplace
equalto team staff: I see. How was the idea “Bookmark” born?
Hoshiko: I borrowed felt balls and tried to put at various places in my house and office to figure out how it looks and what kind of functions is in this material. I just started the design from the unknown state. Suddenly, when I put it on a book, I thought “a little standing figure looks nice” and thought about bookmark.
equalto team staff: Adorable moment of this felt ball leads its own functionality.
Any concerns about deciding felt ball size, color, strings etc?
Hoshiko: I asked various people to get feedback about the size and color of the felt ball, and heard opinions. I got opinions from a wide range of age groups such as my child, wife, and my friends. Regarding strings, at first I thought that “I had to make one string,” but there were many trials and errors. But considering the ease of making and consumers’ things well, “It is more convenient if there are two strings! “I finally realized this specification. Four colors are aligned, and the figure lined up in bookshelves is also colorful and cute.
equalto team staff: try and error made current design. How about you, Mr. Watanabe? Any concerns?
Mr. Watanabe: In order to express “Having a little feeling” that Mr. Hoshi was felt, using the jig that can measure the diameter at one time, meticulous attention to the size of the felt ball I paid.
equalto team staff: Thank you very much for such ingenuity. I think that it turned out to be a very good product!
Finally, please tell me if you have a message to those customers who bought “Bookmark”.
Mr. Watanabe: “Bookmark” was released thanks to many people, including Hoshiko, and it came out as a success. Many people’s conscious, thoughts and feelings are in the products. we would like this product to be as a long-loved product and bring a smile to all people who buy this product.
Hoshiko: First of all, I would be happy that more people are interested in this product, and then customers would understand that “this product was born with such as background”. Besides for yourself, it would be good for gifts like a part of wrapping with a book. You would have also have the joy of finding a new way to use this product. I’d like people to be interested and expand this PwDs supporting project idea in using the product concepted as “We will make full use of the individuality of people with disabilities and to have everyone’s cooperation.”
equalto team staff: It would be very nice if it were to help more people in the future.
Born in Kumamoto prefecture in 1974
After graduating from the Kuwasawa Design Institute, he became independent as a design office and miscellaneous goods maker.
Currently working mainly on graphic design.
equalto award 2014 Excellence Award