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The mobile marker board is essential to and almost universally found in all office environments. With Watson’s growing market share with technology companies, and looking at currently available mobile whiteboards, Watson saw an opportunity to offer a whiteboard with a focus on clean, modern design.
Leg detail
Top corner detail
Etch has become one of Watson’s best selling products, and serves as an introduction for a lot of potential furniture reps to the durability, craftsmanship, and performance of a Watson product. It has been sold to and used by Nike, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and other innovative companies.
In April 2016 Watson began a quick ship program for three products, Etch being one of them, to help it reach more customers.
Etch at the Nike Blue Ribbon Design Studio in Beaverton, Oregon
Etch at HanaHaus, a co-working space in Palo Alto, California.
Here Etch is "featured" on the opening page of the workplace trends section of the 2016 Gensler Design Forecast. Mainly it's about a cool co-working space, HanaHaus, but pretty cool for me none-the-less.
RESEARCH:
Started with looking at what types of markerboards exist on the market.
Also looking into what Watson's competitors offer. Notice most are framed, and not particularly clean or modern in the design.
IDEATION:
The goal I set was simple, to create a whiteboard as intuitive and distraction free as a piece of paper. Its function was enough to inspire the form.
I was still new to Watson at this time, so part of my exploration was figuring out Watson’s brand, and their design language. I did this in the end by styling the legs after the Tonic Bench, a existing Watson product. I sketched a hundred or so mobile markerboards, made quarter scale models and eventually a few full scale models from MDF and cardboard.
Early in development we considered offering wood legs.
Once the overall form was distilled, I worked with a couple of engineers to figure out the best way to attach the skins and make the legs field install-able. Here they are playing with the marker trays, making ramps down the surface. :-)
First prototype | Leg detail | Comparing "ankle" or no "ankle". | Cycle testing the caster weld attachment.
Watson strives to make as much as possible in the Poulsbo factory.
A batch of legs waiting to be boxed up.
The Y shaped plates that are welded into the legs and act as the inserts into the main frame.
After a year or so of production we decide we were unhappy with the caster attachment. We decided to change it to a zinc casting, rather than a welded in plate.The casting improved the manufacturing time and cost, reduced rejected parts and field failures, improved the rolling performance, and is a nicer aesthetic finish to the cut tube.
Etch - Mobile Markerboard

Etch is a family of mobile markerboards that uses new steel powdercoating technology to deliver a high performance product with a refined form. The user friendly design is underscored by flexible magnetic accessories that can be placed anywhere on the writing surface.

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Available
Freelance, Full-time
Bryce Moulton
Industrial Designer Poulsbo, WA