During three years of collaboration with the newly established Chinese medical start-up Mastin / REJOIN, our Shanghai team has developed a completely new and courageous approach in the market for sports medicine implants and non-invasive arthroscopic tools for surgery.
Combining the striking forms of angular ribbing and the enticing depths of translucent magenta, the design language is primarily the result of visionary market insight, collaborative ergonomic research and decisive manufacturing optimisation in regard to getting the most out of injection molding capabilities.
The challenge in creating a global sports medicine brand required WILDDESIGN to look into new ways to create and validate lasting industrial design language within companies. A new and improved guideline was developed in-house to cater for Rejoin’s future growth.
Rejoin needed a strong guideline and industrial design strategy that would enable them to cement themselves within an increasingly competitive marketplace. To find out more, visit Part 1 of The Future’s Non-Invasive, an exclusive 3 part article detailing wider market factors and why Rejoin were in the right place at the right time to capitalise on a booming sports medicine market in China.
“The product design keeps being strengthened and the design language extended. We now have the confidence and core competencies to face the challenging market with high practicality.” - Mr Xu (Rejoin CEO)
During initial brand discussions, WILDDESIGN envisioned Rejoin’s future market position as a dynamic, sports-centric medical brand that would stand out within a crowd of corporate, clinical or more traditional medical companies. Validating this assumption with Rejoin’s development team, perceptual maps were created to help visualise Rejoin’s future position against local and global players. From this initial snapshot, it was clear that colour and form would be our preliminary drivers for design exploration.
Upon confirming this strategical plan with Rejoin, it was then the task to implement an industrial design language that would give birth to highly functional and enticing arthroscopic tools for surgeons and hospital staff. Our most fundamental task though, would be to fulfil usability and ergonomic requirements for surgeons and hospital staff.
After attending workshops, seminars and product walk-throughs with surgeons to gain an understanding of how each tool worked to heal and fix patient injuries, the WILDDESIGN team honed focus upon the usability issues within the surgeon’s palms and fingertips; in the ergonomic considerations for handles, interfaces or mechanisms that facilitated the preparation and fixation of implants within patients.
Via rapid iterative prototyping, a range of form factors were tested, ending with a handle that was tapered into a rounded pentagonal cross section and that felt ideal when used for its particular surgical application. Further 3D-printing and hand modelling simulated the end plastic texture, enabling more realistic user-scenario tests with latex gloves.
Trialling ribbing techniques that would allow the reduction of raw material usage, heighten the levels of tactility and lastly, stylistically create a unique product language, the design team tweaked the design to ensure it could be moulded as a single, solid piece. Through dozens of foam and 3D-printed prototypes, the size and space of each hole was defined, bringing the final shape in-line with both design and engineering constraints. A ribbing formula for the next set of tools was also formalised and prepared within the design guideline document ensuring both a comfortable and lightweight tool for the surgeon’s hand whilst cutting material costs for the supplier’s pocket.
Given the immense sea of traditional products in the market place, the design team were ever more confident to make colour an integral part of the design direction. There was just one last trick to employ - translucency. Visit Part 2 for a deep dive into this part of WILDDESIGN’s design process for Rejoin.
Multiple refractions bring depth, saturation and visual appeal to the product whilst the visible internal structures of the assembled instrument create an understanding of internal chambers used for dispensing implants and ultimately, aiding arthroscopic procedures. From purely aesthetic considerations, a purple translucent tool lying on a table with a majority of opaque tools, simply stands out, forming a highly attention-grabbing worthy tool for this sports medical segment. Teaming up with specialist medical plastic suppliers, we began selecting the ideal polymers and finishes to bring this consideration into production.
To guarantee our designs for REJOIN passed smoothly into the medical market, WILDDESIGN ensured the product was primed for medical certification via working alongside trusted plastic suppliers and REJOIN’s QA team. Since their products would be categorised as Class III medical products, which includes ”high-risk devices usually implanted into the human body or used for life support” the level of scrutiny for how the products would be assessed would be the highest of any medical product.
Understanding the time-to-market and a registration time of 14 months, the development teams tested the polymer in moulds to conform to CFDA requirements and create guarantees with 3rd party plastic suppliers, ensuring REJOIN maintained their development schedule and met milestones within their product pipeline. From an executive level, with the vision to make the brand a leader and by using a unique design language as the vessel, we then needed to transfer that language across all future tools, in order to reinforce brand values and give the confidence for global aspirations.
To achieve REJOIN’s global aspiration, WILDDESIGN redefined a tool within their design armoury, helping to establish a design language that facilitated coherent, highly functional products that competed with larger, more established players. This newly optimised method, compiles all product and user-experience know-how into a digestible, user-friendly manual which acts as both a guide for future developments and an internal company asset. We call it the Corporate Industrial Design Manual or CIDM for short. Find out more via our new CIDM service page...
The CIDM that we built for Rejoin begins by introducing the brand attributes and values that then lead towards ergonomic prerequisites and an industrial design philosophy. This combination of function and form is then applied and catalogued throughout the manual with such chapters as form, colour, logo placement, material finish and even specific manufacturing processes used to achieve the desired result. Methodically, we ensure the next development is in-line with both the brand and the functional aspects relating to the intended usage of relevant tools, without negating cost and time factors.
The CIDM enabled REJOIN to create a formidable design presence against big global competition. A synergy between both brand and product identities was created that could be called upon throughout any product development process, increasing the efficiency of design phases and creating more coherency for the brand within the market. To find out more on the wider benefits of CIDMs, visit Part 3 of The Future’s Non-Invasive.
From witnessing the conception of REJOIN to their success within China over the past 3 years, WILDDESIGN shifted professional support towards branding, marketing and sales. With the first series of tools being tested, WILDDESIGN were tasked with the important job to visualise and present them within a flagship product brochure that would be used in meetings with hospitals staff and surgeons. The brochure forms the start of Rejoin’s presence as a new sports medicine brand and whilst it’s just the beginning of this next chapter, it too will morph as we capture customer feedback and shift Rejoin towards grasping their global aspirations.
WILDDESIGN recognised the need to control the flow of all printed and digital collaterals from one source. Further graphic and brand support came in the form of exhibition booth designs, packaging and internal corporate collaterals.
Jon Walmsley describes this extraordinary project in a detailed three part blog below: