Designer’s Corner: Inside the Spectra™ 2.0 Collection

spectrasketches“Innovation is in our blood here in Switzerland – since the beginning, we’ve always tried to make things better” says Mr. Elsener, chief executive officer of Victorinox, in an interview from 2010.  This statement still rings true today.  The all-new, Spectra™ 2.0 hardside luggage design has taken the Spectra™ Collection to new heights, with endless packing possibilities and unique travel solutions. We sat down with Senior Travel Gear Product Designer, Jacob Lusson, for an exclusive sneak-peek of this collection, which is set to launch this fall.

1.    What was your inspiration behind the redesign of the collection?

To be honest, the success of Spectra™ was the inspiration. We listened to feedback from customers and retailers and tried to build upon all of the positive aspects and remedy any negative ones.  Automotive, sport and consumer electronic trends also influenced the design.  The new matte finish was a product of that.

 2.    What is your favorite feature of this collection?

My favorite feature is probably the one that will go least noticed by most users: the new casters.  We went through several iterations where we tweaked the durometer of the outer tread material to get it to roll perfectly regardless of what surface the case is on. Little, obsessive stuff like that is what I’m most happy with.

 3.    The Spectra™ 2.0 carry-on is now offered in two styles, one with a Quick-Access Door and one without.  Which version fits your personal travel and packing style?

I’ve switched to the Quick-Access version. I occasionally use the electronics panel but most of the time I still prefer to carry my laptop in an Altmont™ backpack, so I remove the panel that separates the front pocket from the main compartment and just load everything through the front Quick-Access Door. I can just cram all my clothes in and go.

4.    How do you pack your hardside case?

I pack in the same way the Man Vs. Food guy eats a sandwich. It’s chaos. That’s what’s best for me. I know Dan, the Vice President of Victorinox Travel Gear Product Design, likes to roll his clothes and then separate them by type of clothing using the case’s 50/50 split divider wall.  I would expect that most people would pack this way, too. This way you stay organized and can utilize the compression straps that keep your items from shifting during travel and the zippered pockets for smaller items.  To each their own…

5.    Where have you traveled with this bag and where did you take it?

My Spectra™ 2.0 case has seen three continents so far. And Wisconsin. Is Wisconsin a continent? It should be. Go Pack Go!

6.    What color of Spectra is your favorite?  

It’s so hard to choose; I like all of the variations of Spectra™ 2.0.  I tend to travel with a black Spectra™ Dual-Access Global Carry-On, so I would say that is my favorite.

7.    In the past, the Spectra™ Collection has introduced many limited edition colors. Will this continue to be the case with Spectra™ 2.0?

The red, black and white colors are tried-and-true, but we will do limited editions for more adventurous folks.  That’s all I can say. I’ve said too much as it is.

8.    The Swiss Army Knife heritage of this brand is very engrained in this collection.  When designing this luggage collection, what inspiration comes from the knives? 

The Quick-Access styles are the Swiss Army Knife of luggage, for sure. It’s a bag equipped for any travel situation.  They can be business bags with sleeves for your laptop and tablet; pockets for phones, pens, and chargers; and they hold enough clothes for short trips. You wouldn’t even need a briefcase or backpack.  They are also a great choice for leisure travel.  They are stylish, lightweight, protective for any souvenirs you may acquire and they offer great packing flexibility.

9.    Not only is this bag lightweight, it is very strong and durable. What kind of testing is performed to ensure its durability?

They are thrown through the wringer; abused in more ways and more times than even the most disgruntled baggage handler would have the energy for.  And then we do it again to make sure the results are repeatable.  We have the highest testing standards of anyone in the industry and our testing lab upholds these standards to the fullest.

10. Tell us about the Spectra™ 2.0 material

It is made from two layers of 100% virgin Bayer polycarbonate. Meaning the polycarbonate hasn’t been recycled and remolded. Recycling materials greatly reduces the integrity of the material and weakens it.   A pure polycarbonate on the other hand creates a high-quality, high-impact resistant travel case that can withstand the toughest of travels.  Another benefit of polycarbonate is that it can bend. Through testing, we have determined the ideal thickness of polycarbonate to allow it to flex and absorb impact without breaking or cracking.  What I’m trying to get across, in many words, is that this material is protective, lightweight and durable; that’s why it’s commonly used in football helmets and police riot shields and it’s why we currently use it for our hardside luggage.

11. What obstacles did you face when designing this collection?

Whenever you change something that’s been successful, you run the risk of screwing it up. So we made sure everyone who came in contact with the new cases during development felt they were even better than the first ones.

12. What was your favorite part of designing the collection?

The best part is always the beginning; you have a blank sheet of paper and the possibilities are endless.

13. What’s the future of hardside luggage?

It’s here, with Spectra™ 2.0.

Thank you to Jacob for this exclusive insight into the newest generation of our popular Spectra™ Collection; coming to this fall!

Inside the Altmont™ 3.0 Everyday Bag Collection

Already popular worldwide, the Altmont™ Collection has been updated in its third generation to include new styles of briefcases, backpacks, messenger bags and day bags that compliment today’s technology. This collection has dedicated pockets for laptops and iPads/tablets/eReaders and a wide assortment of designs to accommodate personal style. The collection designer, Luke Smith, created these bags for your everyday needs and has refreshed the color offering. Here’s an inside look at his creative process for Altmont™ 3.0.

What prompted the update to the Altmont™ Collection?
Because people already like Altmont, this update was really about evolution than completely remaking the collection. We addressed all of the things that people were asking for and the direction technology is taking us. The biggest additions to Altmont 3.0 were the slim bags and briefs as well as the new colors. Everything is going smaller and slimmer these days, especially in the world of technology, so we wanted the new generation to reflect this movement and better suit what we knew people were looking for in an everyday bag.

What was the creative inspiration behind Altmont 3.0?
We really let the evolution of technology guide this collection and focused on feedback from consumers to improve upon what we had with Altmont 2.0. This wasn’t a complete overhaul because so much was already working well for this collection. We stayed with the classic hiking and outdoor inspiration that everyone associates with Victorinox and the Swiss Army Knife, but tried to make little changes to help it fit in an urban setting as well. 

Why did you update the colors?
I wanted to use grey because it really goes with everything, which makes it perfect for everyday bags. We hadn’t offered everyday bags in blue and it’s such a popular color that this seemed like an obvious addition. Looking at the different colors we’ve now offered in Altmont 2.0 and 3.0, we’ve really been able to hit most of the rainbow.

What is your favorite addition to this collection?
I liked creating the Flapover Laptop Backpack because it’s the first backpack I’ve dealt with that has expansion, but doesn’t look ridiculous when you use it. I know I’m a little biased, but people tend to throw as much as possible into a backpack during a long day and the Flapover Laptop Backpack is one that they can stuff full and it still keeps its slim silhouette.

What type of everyday bag do you use and why?
I carry the Standard Backpack.  I just like it. So much of choosing a backpack or messenger bag is personal preference. You want something that reflects your personality and just fits. I like the Standard Backpack because it fits me well and I like the way it looks while I’m wearing it. If I were 6’4″ with broad shoulders, then I might wear something bigger, but a guy my size just looks better in something slim and simple.

What’s in your bag?
Depends on the day. But most days I have my glasses and sunglasses in cases tucked in the front pocket, a notebook and pen and I try to remember to throw in a jacket or a sweatshirt on colder days. I never know when an idea is going to hit me for a project, so I make it a practice to keep a sketchpad as well. It helps when I need to jot down a quick idea or draw up a concept that I’m working through. The last thing I always carry is a pack of Tic-Tacs. Wintergreen

– Luke Smith – Product Designer for Victorinox Travel Gear

Before designing Victorinox Travel Gear, Luke studied art and design at the University of Wisconsin – Stout.



Inside the Werks Professional™ Business Case Collection

Victorinox is excited to introduce the new Werks Professional Collection™, which includes briefcases, backpacks and laptop bags with compartments for laptops, iPads, tablets and eReaders. The designer, Jacob Lusson, created this collection for carrying on a daily basis by combining a lightweight and durable construction with a respectable appearance. Here’s an inside look into his thinking and inspiration when creating Werks Professional™

What inspired you to create the Werks Professional™ Collection?
There was gap in our products between casual, lifestyle-oriented bags and formal, business-oriented gear. We didn’t have anything for the person who works in a professional environment, but wants something less formal than a traditional briefcase. This collection would also be perfect for the person who freelances from a coffee house or commutes to a downtown design studio.

What sets Werks Professional™ apart from the other business cases in the market?
Organization. Most bags on the market have slots for your pens, slots for your business cards, a pocket for your phone, dividers for your documents, a sleeve for your computer, and not much else. And if the items that you carry don’t fit into one of those prescribed pockets, you are welcome to toss them to the bottom of the bag and let them rattle around. With Werks Professional™, we made sure there are many padded pockets for whatever items you carry. They are non-specific and plentiful.

What was the creative inspiration behind the design of Werks Professional™?
Modern devices dictated a lot of the physical shape of the bags. They are slimmer than some past collections because an iPad is slimmer than a three-ring binder. Computers have gotten thinner. Lighter. So we made the pieces thinner, lighter, and more modern looking. To emphasize this, we put a tablet sleeve in every piece.

What is your favorite feature of this collection?
The molded haul handles. Every time I pick one of the bags up, I’m surprised by how good they feel.

How would you describe your personal business style?
Full throttle.

What is your favorite piece in this collection?
The Associate.  That’s the larger backpack. It has a very well organized interior. I use a backpack when I travel, but I’m always misplacing things inside the pack. To prevent that, there are pockets everywhere on this pack. There’s even a hidden one on the back panel. It’s a completely full-featured backpack that doesn’t look big and bulky.

-Jacob Lusson, Product Designer for Victorinox Travel Gear

Studied industrial design at the University of Wisconsin Stout and worked at Blu Dot in Minneapolis and Kohler Company in Kohler, Wisconsin before designing Victorinox Travel Gear.