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This was a total "blue sky" assignment. The Irwin marketing department wanted to see quantity over quality to start - different styles, different methods of adjustment, methods of release, grip design, jaw design, anything that I could dream up from crazy to conservative. The task was a lot of fun, and I created over a hundred different sketches, several of which were quite modern - tech looking. Designers can fall in love with a new look that they have created, but I couldn't with any of these. The original had become such a handyman's favorite, that in my mind, it was a design icon. I agrued against a change, and made this poster for my boss, Tom to defend the original. There are certainly more iconic, timeless designs in products, I just selected 12 designs that will never be seen as passe. He kept the poster on his wall until the day that he retired.
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The Irwin marketing department asked me to propose a new design for the Vise Grip locking pliers. Irwin offered two models, the classic Vise Grip, which they felt was dated, and the newer Quick Release, with flashy blue and yellow hand grips. The desire was to reduce SKU's - to combine the newer look with the superior gripping power of the original Vise Grip.

Doug Baxendell
Senior Industrial Designer/ Engineer Raleigh, NC