The Making of HMM - About the sound of Utility Knife.
From conceptualization to market launch, it took a full two years for Utility Knife. HMM enthusiasts might be a bit numb, thinking, "Tell us which product doesn't take this long?" Where did these two years go? As a brand marketer waiting for products to sell until my hair turns white, let me share my observations in this diary.
Let's talk about the sound of Utility Knife today.
The initial ruler knife was silent, smooth, lacking a spring mechanism or serrated track. While elegant, a potential issue arose: if the screw wasn't tightened, the blade could slip out, posing a significant risk.
The designer couldn't ignore this usage scenario, so they decided to add a track and a spring-loaded mechanism. Since then, Utility Knife's design has incorporated the senses of hearing and touch.
The sound had to be crisp and pleasant, complementing touch. A subtle, refreshing feel, like a pen click, adds a neat auditory ritual to each stroke during work.
This leads to endless attempts. With each new item and encountering unfamiliar parts, it poses a fresh challenge for the designer.
Utility Knife's body is solid metal, differing from typical utility knives. Prioritizing tactile and auditory experience for a weighty feel, durability is the second focus, selecting robust and enduring materials.
After confirming the spring-loaded mechanism's elasticity, endurance testing begins, subjecting Utility Knife to nearly ten thousand blade movements.
During those afternoons, the designer often had everyone take turns trying the ruler knife, pushing and testing it.
When the knob wasn't securely locked, the blade remained safe. OK confirmed!
The blade could retract without much force. OK confirmed!
While pushing the knife, the knob didn't randomly turn. OK confirmed!
With each detail confirmed, the designer awaits feedback. Surprisingly, what he wanted to ensure was the sound.
"Is this sound okay?"
"Is it not crisp enough?"
"Does it feel clumsy when pushed?"
"The sound doesn't quite match, huh."
"Not sharp enough."
Handmade multiple versions, adjusting tension, robustness, sound, and tactile feedback. After trying various iterations, the most satisfactory one was sent for factory production.
To be honest, initially, I believed an elegant knife should be silent. However, watching designers handcraft and test various spring mechanisms and track scales, I gradually understood. Yes, if there's to be a sound, it must be rhythmic.
When you receive a Utility Knife, push the blade, listen to the sound—a design testament, occupying a quarter of two years. Despite challenges, we hope it brings you comfort and satisfaction.