While many types of weighted vests exist, we at OMORPHO realized that we could make a much better version. Using our combined expertise, we set out to create an OMORPHO weighted vest with improved fit, durability, mobility, inclusivity, appearance and ease of use. The end result is the OMORPHO G-Vest, a more design forward and approachable solution created to help you get fitter, faster and stronger no matter where you work out.
As a designer, I always say that design has to do several things. It starts by having an in-depth understanding of the functional needs of the end user, including the world they move in. From there, we aim to create a design language that goes beyond their expectations and connects with them on an emotional level. While the performance and the quality of the product are the key requirements, the visual part is what often draws people in initially.
Here’s a look behind the design of the OMORPHO G-Vest.
Our co-founder and CEO Stefan Olander, along with other employees and testers, worked out in nearly every weight vest design available. From there, we made lists of pros and cons to understand what worked and what didn’t work.
This process involves not just me as a designer but also our engineering and innovation teams. Crucially, it involved OMORPHO’s Head of Engineering and Creation, Irena Ilcheva. We worked together until we had the best functioning and most beautiful product possible. While we collectively focused on weighted vest mechanics, we also thought about the common routines most of us follow. How much weight does the vest really need? How do we make the vest adjustable? How do you wash a vest?
We ultimately realized that innovation was greatly needed among conventional performance vests particularly around fit and function. For too long, it had been made for (and marketed to) mainly men and professional athletes. In reality, everyone can benefit from weighted fitness vests and their resistance training attributes.
After completing our research, we started dreaming, what if we designed a better workout vest that could be used by everyone, no matter who they are, their fitness level, their sport, if they’re training for the Olympics or if they simply enjoy hiking or walking their dog? What if we simplified the use and interaction typically associated with resistance training? Better yet, what if we made a weighted vest that is enjoyable to work out in? We outlined the problems we were solving for and got to work.
I like to design according to a 3-step rule: Attract, Engage and Capture. “Attract” is about the appearance of a product and how it grabs a consumer’s attention. For the G-Vest, we started with the overall proportion, as well as the weighted elements being a visual novelty that are smoothly incorporated onto an even surface. The shape, materials and hardwear have a modern appearance that feels understated yet strong.
“Engage” is about getting closer to the product, seeing the details, feeling its smoothness and durability and noticing the adjustability via side cinching and shoulder straps. This phase of obsessing the details helps consumers have early, impactful connections to the product and brand. “Capture” is about the function of the product, including making it not too heavy (or too light) for one’s movement. From the first time the consumer puts it on, everything that attracted them to it should be validated. We worked very hard to achieve this with the G-Vest!
Our earliest, crude prototypes helped us confirm our initial thoughts and objectives, as well as figure out the right amount of weight. We worked with OMORPHO’s Head of Science, Dr. Erin Feser, to create a testing format, and the results were incredible. In simple terms, adding a small to moderate amount of weight to your workout routines gives you a significant boost and helps you maximize the output on your invested time and energy. Who doesn’t want that?
We also worked very hard to refine the comfort of the G-Vest. We wanted it to move well with every body and feel like the weight is well-distributed to work dynamically with your muscle groups. We tested various materials to see what worked best against the skin and with abrasion, heat and sweat. The end result feels modern, fits well and has the optimal weight.
To sum it all up, I would say that 90% of our design process is creating the product in tandem with engineering, including the product’s proportions, features and function. 10% of it is the magic touch of design and style. When I look back at our research, sketches and ideas, we always kept both design and performance at the forefront. Furthermore, our digital teams took it a step further and made the G-Vest connected, thanks to a subtly embedded NFC tag that opens the OMORPHO app directly. It was an amazing experience, and I look forward to sharing more about OMORPHO design with you in the future.
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