Prototyping festival backpacks with Brian Donlin

This week we got a chance to give informal member Brian Donlin some feedback on this brand of festival gear, Grasshopper. Brian has been a freelancer since 2019, before that he was working as an industrial designer at Optimal Design, an innovation consulting firm in Chicago. In late 2021, he decided to take a break from client work to focus on Grasshopper.

Grasshopper backpack prototype by Brian Donlin

Festivals have always been a big part of Brian’s life — he goes to shows every weekend, which is why he decided to create products for a world he lives and breathes. We sat down with him during one of our weekly community project chats to give some direct feedback about his upcoming products. Brian says he wants his products to feel like lifestyle brands Vans or Patagonia, creating a balance between function and aesthetics that fit a specific niche. Donlin’s first product is a backpack, as there is already a wide variety of festival goers who are also backpack enthusiasts.

The backpack he showed us for feedback features a variety of specialty festival utilities, including a pull-over feature that hides a clear shell — a requirement for some festivals. The existing options for clear backpacks leave a lot of room to develop high quality alternatives that are also stylish.

The pack also has a built-in pocket for hydration packs, anti theft features, and a sleek design many existing clear backpacks don’t have. For Brian and other festival goers, aesthetics is just as important as functionality.

What would you like to see in a festival pack? Reach out to Brian if you’d like to chat more about backpacks!

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Lee Wilkins

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