Design365 – Day 7

Shoei Helmet
Emotions: Bad ass, fast, cool, confident, protected, sporty

Because I work on my master’s thesis about track days so often, I promised myself I wouldn’t get motorcycles involved in my Design365 project. But, as is evident from the picture above, I broke that promise.

They’re just too damn sexy! And for that, I had to search more into this. Last night, I was sketching prototypes for my project and I had to draw out a helmet. So I was looking at my own for inspiration and to mimic. Then, as I struggled drawing the complex curves accurately, I wondered what about this safety device makes it so cool? Because boiled down, the helmet is solely for protection – not gaining the admiration of those around you. But it greatly does both.

So, b/c I’m learning more from Don Norman’s “Emotional Design”, I’ll try to apply that here to see what I can gather. I’ll work from Reflective down to Behavioral, then finally to Visceral (or I’ll try to at least).

Reflective: Here, I imagine all the stories I’ve heard from others or seen in the movies. In nearly all of these depictions, the motorcycle rider is a bad ass muddah that shouldn’t be messed with! But on the other hand, the stories of people dead or injured from motorcycle accidents because they didn’t wear a helmet rattle me. It also makes me judge other riders who dare to ride without it. Lastly, it’s also illegal to ride without one, so that’s another piece added to the pie.

Behavioral: The helmet does what it’s supposed to. I don’t get bugs or rocks thrown into my eye, I feel comfortable knowing my cabeza is protected if anything were to happen, and it fits comfortable enough. Although it’s not the most comforting thing in the world, for what it offers, I’m willing to sacrifice a little comfort. Another point is it’s aerodynamic design makes it easy to manage while moving at 60+.

Visceral: This (while standing on the shoulders of reflective thinking) is what makes this product shine. As always with greatly designed products, form follows function and as noted earlier, the helmet must be aerodynamic. So it starts with a very rounded build. After that, there’s these little slits and slots around – one over the mouth area, one over the Shoei logo near the forehead, and two more near the crown of the head. These slots are really just adjustable holes allowing air in or out of the helmet for ventilation.

But rather than just being holes with a basic cover, these vents are designed to look very edgy. They offer sharp and abrupt edges, similar to the F-117 stealth fighter jet. Other spots also sport the flat, sculpted look and they add to the feel of the helmet, giving it another dimension. So rather than it being just a round ball, the vents spice it up with fighter jet flare. Might be hard to see in the picture, but there’s also other lines on the helmet that add to the sporty feel.

Another point worth noticing is how the vents use a shiny paint whereas the rest of the body relies on a matte finish. This helps to give it a futuristic and clean feel while also drawing attention to those spots.

Shoei helmet

That’s it for today’s analysis. But one quick celebration – I made it through one week! Consistency is key and I’ve struggled here before, but I got faith I’ll make it through a year of skill development. 1 week down, 51 to go!!!

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