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Obstructive sleep apnoea solved

Challenge

Translate an idea into an actual solution.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is diagnosed when throat and tongue muscles relax abnormally strong and block the air flow during sleeping. This disturbance not only causes snoring but briefly wakes up the patient as a result of a short suffocation panic. OSA is the most common sleep disorder and it affects over 300,000 people in Belgium alone. Nyxoah’s therapy consists of a tiny neurostimulator implanted in the chin area. The system stimulates the tongue nerve. This keeps the upper airway open throughout the night, avoiding sleep apnoea.
Evidently, the most important part of the system is the implant itself. We designed the method how the implant is anchored to the tongue muscle in a stable and reliable way. In close collaboration with involved surgeons, we developed – during various prototype stages – the optimized surgical tool to improve the reliability, speed and usability of the implant positioning.
How it works

Disruptive solution requires discrete and minimally invasive surgery

The system that the Belgo-Israeli start-up Nyxoah has developed is compact and requires a simple implantation, just under the chin of the patient. This implant directly stimulates the tongue muscles when needed. This keeps the upper airway open throughout the night. The implant itself is wirelessly powered by a small activation chip that the patient wears under the chin on a disposable patch while sleeping.

Charging during the day gives you a good sleep at night

Since most of the complexity lies in the activation chip, the implant is kept simple, giving it a long lifetime. While Nyxoah mastered the required technology, they needed a partner to help create a complete system that guarantees a user-friendly approach for patients, doctors, and surgeons.

Making it easy for all users

Our designers and engineers developed a new solution to charge the implant and wear the device during the night. As a side effect, our designs are patented and are now an important element of Nyxoah’s IP.

Patient confidence through an intuitive user interface

The requirements of the digital interface had to have two main functionalities: continuous and discontinuous pulsing. One big button was provided to set parameters in function of the patient needs. Once the pulse has been given, the display highlights the working of the pulse and provides visual feedback to the operator. We were able to obtain these findings by testing and prototyping our designs by wireframing, clickable prototypes and user insights.
The result
The result is a minimally invasive, compact, comfortable, effective, and affordable solution for patients who suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. This game-changing idea immediately gained worldwide recognition, as it won the Frost & Sullivan New Product Innovation Leadership Award (2014) as well as the World Technology Award (2014).
Generating ideas with a 360° view resulted in a simplified usability. This contributed to the shift from a medical device to a user-friendly product.

Adi Maschiach

Co-founder Nyxoah
Nice to be part of a small international team that is challenging every design detail to create a true breakthrough innovation.

Tim Ruytjens

Senior Manager Industrial Design

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Smart eyewear that increases visual comfort

Challenge

Auto-focus eyewear

At a certain age, our eyes tend to degenerate. Eyeglasses are the logical answer to this problem. However, we catch ourselves constantly looking above and below our glasses when looking at objets close up. Alternatively, we buy a pair of multifocal lenses and narrow our field of view. Morrow wanted to transform this multifocal eyewear to increase the level of visual comfort. This translated in a revolutionary smart eyewear that can change focus between near and far distances with just a push of a button.  
Approach

Smart lens

The team of Jelle De Smet and Paul Marchal from Morrow developed a new kind of smart lens with a layer of liquid crystals that makes it possible to change the index of refraction by an electrical current.
The Achilles team was responsible for the integration of the electronics, visual design of the 3D-printed frames, and the usability of the eyewear. We helped Morrow bring their revolutionary smart eyewear to the market.
The result
The resulting eyewear is ultralight, very comfortable, and easy to use, giving maximum flexibility to the user. Back and front surfaces can be tailored to the visual needs of the customer.  Highest quality coatings offer outstanding anti-reflective properties and premium-class durability. Investing in comfort and looks.

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Optimal comfort at lower energy cost

Challenge
The innovative dynamx™ control valves regulate energy flow to bring the right amount of energy to the right place at the precise time. Water supply (warm and cold) is continually adjusted to maintain the preferred comfort level in each room. Energy is conserved  in this way, by using only the necessary amount of water. Consumption and energy performance can also be tracked by room or floor, and alarms can be automatically triggered in the event of a problem.
Achilles has taken care of the usability, assembly, modularity, design, prototyping and supervision of the pre-production, up to and including the production of the injection molds.
Common design language
As is ease-of-use for both installer and operator, the design is also a breakthrough in the industry. The blue ripples on the surface reflect the function of both water and energy waves. Attention is drawn to the utilitarian value more than to the logo, although its sleek and clean design is still refreshing to the technical world.
Product architecture

Modularity

The product line includes a motor and sensor unit, to be used independently or in combination with one another. Both are modular so they may be configured in function of application: with or without built-in displays, the input of additional external sensors, or wireless communication to read the field data. The dynamx valve is available in different flow ranges in order to enable optimal sizing. Our dynamx valves are designed to accurately control the flow through each consumer. All dynamx valves can be integrated smoothly into each Building Management Systems or they can also be implemented as stand-alone devices.
Digital design
We also designed dxLink™, an associated application that greatly simplifies installation and maintenance. It allows remote commissioning and/or re-commissioning for the Dynamx-units. Thereby the commissioning of the Dynamx-unit does not require intervention on site, but can be executed in a central site/location.
Engineering
Modularity with the least possible number of injection molded parts and to be linked to standard purchasing parts (such as engines and a large variety of valves). Cost saving is a very important theme since contracts very often come through public procurement.
The result
Dynamx substantially simplified the installation and the activation of each component in itself as well as the entire system. This was achieved through an integrated approach and carefull design of every relevant element (e.g. snap system, position indicator, accompanying app, etc.)

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Appti, a new loyalty platform for the Colmar restaurants

Challenge

Connect with the Colmar customers

Colmar was interested to gain more insight in the behavior of their customers, to increase customer retention in their restaurants and to communicate more efficiently with their clientele. Achilles helped Colmar to create and develop a loyalty platform that enabled them connect better with their customers. Essentially, the platform gives additional benefits to the customers of the restaurants in order to increase customer loyalty.  
Achilles Design was involved in this project from Strategy formulation to creating wireframes and prototypes, performing user tests and developing the ultimate design. Achilles designers deployed their strategy, UX/UI & branding design skills to merge modern technology and user-friendly design with the Colmar Brand.
Strategy

Workshops together with the Colmar team

During a series of workshops, we guided the Colmar team in defining the strategy for this new service. We helped them in determining the goal and purpose, and to match the business requirements with customer needs. This process led to a decision in the loyalty program’s mechanism and requirements for the minimum viable product.
Brand design

The Colmar brand

However, part of the Colmar universe, the new loyalty platform needed its own distinctive voice. We helped in creating this new brand extension from brand name to final visual concept. By adopting elements of the Colmar brand identity as a basis, we made sure that the new platform fitted perfectly with the existing Colmar brand. The introduction of Appti-specific illustrations and graphics makes it recognizable and stand out in the restaurant
The development

The Appti app

The development of the application was coordinated by us, together with our development partner Cubitec. The platform is built as a responsive web app, to enable perfect usage on both desktop and mobile devices. It integrates with the existing cash register system and the CRM system to create a seamless loyalty experience for the customers.  
The result
the loyalty platform is currently being rolled out in all Colmar restaurants throughout Belgium and France. At this point, the platform has a user base of more than 6000 users and it is still growing.

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The efficiency of a Belgian retail system in the French retail world

Challenge

Implement signature checkout process to French legislation

At Colruyt in Belgium, the cashier takes your shopping items directly from your shopping cart, scans them, and loads them into another cart. This saves time and space within the Colruyt system and results in better customer intimacy. Even though the process is very much appreciated by Colruyt’s Belgian customers, this checkout method didn't fully comply with French norms and laws. Rather than just acquiring standard checkout counters and effectively copying the checkout system of other retail chains, Colruyt decided to develop a new checkout counter system that better suited their unique personality.
Belgian supermarket chain Colruyt does everything in its own way. Even the checkout process is unique.
Approach

A brand new workflow for clients and cashier

The challenge was to combine Colruyt's cart-to-cart system with a more traditional conveyor belt system. This hybrid checkout had to ensure that the employee would never have to lift heavy items (which is a legal requirement in France). Unlike most checkout counters in Europe, this system has the cashier standing up and make sure they are at the same level as the customer, therefore seeming more approachable and friendly. This also ensures that they are highly mobile allowing for quick personnel handovers. This method leads to enhanced work efficiency.
Prototyping

Verification of concepts in real life

Evidently, ensuring ergonomic comfort for the cashier personnel was absolutely crucial in this project. The best way to create and verify different concepts was using true-size prototypes. Very basic models made of simple materials (wood, cardboard, etc) were used for role playing games, to optimise the workflow. They provided immediate feedback to the design team, on different configurations or variations of the concept.
Process efficiency

Efficiency as a design driver

Process efficiency is the number one KPI at Colruyt. Naturally, this is also reflected in the construction of the checkout counters. A smart breakup into individual modules allows for fast assembly and repairs. The split-up also allowed Colruyt to use many parts left and right reducing the overall part count, cutting down on inventory and transport through nesting parts together.
The result
The result is a unique, friendly, and highly efficient checkout system, which has effectively become a differentiating attribute for Colruyt in France versus its peers. The fact that both cashier and customer are standing next to each other cuts the natural distance between the two and creates more customer intimacy.

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A new world standard in laboratory tube sealing

Challenge

Increased productivity in the laboratory

Terumo BCT wanted to update their T-Seal Tube Sealing Device with an emphasis on usability and efficiency. The new unit needed to take up as little work surface as possible and be quickly interconnected with multiple devices when needing to seal off numerous inline blood samples. This partnership led to a device that not only met these criteria but also boosted productivity in the lab environment and increased sales for Terumo BCT.
Our user-centered approach quickly helped us understand how the technician works in a busy lab and where the challenges lay trough the workflow.
The solution

A more intuitive and compact seal unit

A folding spacing leg can be used to place multiple sealing units next to each other at precise intervals to create different samples. Sizing down the T-SEAL II device allows closer placement for more sealed units, using up less workspace. Data and power can be shared between the units trough cable connections. This ensures that the sealing only happens at the optimum moment, limiting the risk of having a bad seal.
The result
The T-SEAL II is focused on usability. By looking at the individual actions needed and distilling them down we were able to shave off time needed to create sealed blood samples. In a busy lab environment that can drastically increase productivity and decrease fatigue for the users. The simple, integrated, and elegant spacing solution was a revolution in the market and led to an increase in sales and market share for Terumo BCT.
The unique design of the T-SEAL II has become the worldwide standard today

Filip Paeps

R&D Manager Terumo BCT

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User-Centred Design of an Anaesthesia device

Challenge
An Anaesthesia device is a crucial device in an operation room.  Its design needs to be functional, easy to use and – most importantly – reliable in all circumstances. Medec wanted to develop their new anaesthesia device and consulted Achilles Design to guide them through the development process.
We started our design project by analysing the actual usage patterns of the device. Various observations, stakeholder interviews and user scenario explorations therefore resulted in a system design that optimally fulfilled the user needs. Multiple loops of design, prototyping, testing and optimisation led to a functional, affordable, and aesthetic device design.
User-centred design

Getting insights in the process flows of anaesthesia

In order to start the design process, we first needed to get a solid and thorough understanding of the various stakeholder needs, predominantly the needs of the user itself. Being required to analyse, specify, develop, and evaluate the usability of this medical device in accordance with the ISO62366 standard, we focused on designing the product based on actual user feedback.
System design

Hands-on design approach

We mobilised all the creative ability of our engineers and designers and then combined the best ideas into a series of design concepts. From the overall product layout to different functional subsystems such as the valves, our engineers generated multiple functional prototypes that were intensely tested with respect to durability and reliability.
Engineering

Defining every bolt and nut

Extensive experience with multiple manufacturing techniques and assembly principles enabled us to develop a robust and reliable device, while keeping the cost of ownership to a strict minimum. We detailed and designed all mechanical parts for serial production. In close co-operation with the Medec team, we verified that all parts and (sub)systems would fulfil the required quality standards.
The result
Caelus is a compact anaesthesia ventilator with a surprisingly large working surface. The ergonomically designed trolley with plenty of working space and storage room enhances the comfort, while an 18.5” capacitive touchscreen shows all crucial information at a single glance. Its smaller brother, the Aeolus ventilator, is another device that was designed by Achilles Design. It reduces the cost of ownership to a strict minimum without any compromise on usability.

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Have you ever slept in a beehive before?

Challenge

Stackable sleeping cells that resemble a beehive

Aiming at providing festival visitors with a unique experience relating to their overnight stay, the social enterprises Compaan and Labeur imagined a concept of a stackable sleeping cell that resembled a beehive. They decided to join forces with Achilles Design after being selected for an innovation subsidy. The design team of Achilles Design then then began a full year of development, prototyping and testing to develop “The Honeycomb Hotel”.
Approach

Imagining and designing the honeycomb hotel

The design project kicked off by interviewing focus groups of festival visitors. Achilles Design then translated their expectations, needs and wishes into accommodation concepts. After consulting a vast number of stakeholders, including those responsible for safety regulation, we were able to work out an attractive accommodation concept that was both pleasant and compliant with the required safety and regulation standards for festivals

Trading your tent for more safety and comfort

Festival visitors are increasingly interested in trading their tent for a more comfortable and safer accommodation. B-AND-BEE offers a mobile, modular and stackable system, thereby delivering a unique user experience.
Prototyping and testing

Wooden prototypes

Prototypes were used throughout the whole design process. From early verification in carboard to full-scale, fully functional wooden B-AND-BEE’S.
The result
Winning a prestigious Henry Van De Velde Label 2015, B-AND-BEE is effectively a way to attend festivals and sleep comfortably and safely. Introducing B-AND-BEE, a mobile, modular and stackable sleeping cell that contains an experience like no other.
It was nice to get these prototypes into real-life situations such as the Gentse Feesten and test them with actual festival visitors.

Raf Schoors

Industrial Design Expert
A lot of effort went into the mechanical aspects: designing to meet standards and regulations to deliver a high-quality and safe prototype.

Tim Ruytjens

Senior Manager Industrial Design

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Cleaning polluted air with moss

Challenge

A modular moss panel that removes PM from the air

BESIX Group, the largest Belgian multidisciplinary construction group, joins the battle against air pollution in urban environments. Academic research indicates a high potential for natural moss to remove PM (particulate matter) from polluted air. BESIX Group contacted Achilles to work out a solution that takes advantage of this promising natural phenomenon. A modular system consisting of active panels was conceived which can be installed on wall next to congested roads, tunnel exits, construction sites,…
After testing a variety of irrigation and ventilation principles, Achilles Design created the system layout, designed the product and engineered the complete system. For a pilot project, several panel modules were assembled in-house and installed at a construction site in Leiden.
System architecture

Creating the optimal climate for the moss.

Only if the moss is kept in good shape, its full air-filtering potential can be unlocked. Elaborate experimenting and testing identified the optimal substrate, irrigation and ventilation. During this process Achilles Design converted the academic knowledge into a practical biosystem solution.

Building a system around the moss

The overall system architecture has a major impact, not only regarding the product cost but also with respect to performance, the ease of maintenance, modularity, durability, etc. That’s why we systematically considered different approaches of subsystem decentralization, component layouts and materialization.
Pilot project

Bringing ideas to a real life situation.

Quite early in the development, we had the opportunity to build an actual first pilot project in Leiden. The short timeframe forced us to make quick decisions and immediately bring ideas to reality, combining off-the-shelf solutions with a first production batch.
Digital design

Natural moss with IoT technology

The moss wall is packed with sensors to monitor all relevant parameters: the humidity of the moss, the PM concentration of incoming (= polluted) and outgoing (= filtered) air, temperature, etc. Through an online platform, we were able to manage irrigation and ventilation regimes and monitor the effect on the performance of the moss wall.
The result
The first pilot project with 45m² of moss is up and running. Close monitoring of the moss itself and the measurement of PM concentration will provide us with valuable information to optimize the design for future industrial upscaling. This project was subsidized by the Brussels-Capital Region Innoviris.

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Help people achieve a desired state-of-mind

Challenge

Create a identity that reflects the positive energy and vibe you get by using the Moonbird trainer and app

Moonbird researched the importance of the human breathing rhythm and how it affects our mental state. The company came to the conclusion that breathing has a major impact on our wellbeing. As a result, Moonbird developed the device and app, a handheld biofeedback tool that supports users in their breathing exercises, it helps users to find their inner peace and increase focus and concentration in an easy and interactive way. The device can literally be used everywhere and whenever needed. Achilles Design was asked to develop Moonbirds brand identity that fits the purpose of its solution and that supports the emotional goal of using the device – an identity that looks humanly intuitive and that blends well with its natural purpose.  
Before we started designing, we organised a brand sprint. Together with the client we try to get a better understanding of the purpose of the product and to define the user persona they want to reach.
Approach

A strong name needs a strong identity

The client had already defined the brand name. With a bird as a key symbol and a mood board, we started brainstorming and developing different impressions and generated a number of options Moonbird could look like.
Brand identity

Colors and forms

The brand identity had to reflect associations with calm, guiding, balance, care, nature, and sensitivity, which guided us in the creation of a pallet of soft and emotional colours. Positivity, curiosity, science, and coaching were additional characteristics that needed to build a modern and out-of-the box personality. We used the recognisable ‘Yves Klein blue’ to highlights the scientific background.
By adding organic and abstract forms we gave the overall look-and-feel fun and energy without being too explicit in our message.

Colours and photography

Breathing is a natural phenomenon. Therefore, using natural elements in natural light as well as calm surroundings is meant to support the feelings that are related to inner peace and inner self. We worked with certain colours to express the feelings that are associated with using Moonbird. Besides that, we also used specifically suitable photography that shows the personas who use Moonbird and who have found their desired state-of-mind.
The result
A beautiful and balanced design.
Achilles designed our product, our branding and our website. We wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. The collaboration was fantastic. We could jump in if there was a problem and we loved the end-to-end approach.

Stefanie Broes, PhD

Co-founder Moonbird

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Triggering office-wide trend buzz by redesigning the reporting style

Challenge

Turning factual research results into a broadly appealing report

Creating an information-dense, easy to understand reporting style for trends that invites everyone to start reading.
Colruyt Group has asked our support in creating a trend reporting style that will encourage staff to repeatedly consult and value the content. The reporting style must become a way to get people within the Group energized and inspired when talking about trends. That’s all to trigger new internal innovation projects.
Approach

Understanding the theory to create visual clarity

The trend research team at Colruyt Group works hard on creating high-quality content, and the true value of this content should reach as many colleagues as possible in an engaging way. That’s why our graphic designers firstly had to profoundly understand the trend watching methodology that Colruyt Group applies. Our graphic designers then translate this methodology into clear illustrations that make it easy for generalists to gain a deep insight on the way how certain facts relate to certain trends.
Concept

In a digital age, don’t underestimate the power of print

A high-quality, inviting-to-read printed book that lies around the office is key to the success of this project. The physical presence of these books makes all people within the organization aware of the importance of inspiring and relevant trends for the Group. After a casual read, people can continue reading digitally, but it is actually also important to have it printed such that trend watching gets a positive presence across the office.
The idea is to regularly publish new trend reports – both updates on the same topic and on new topics. The new reports will all be built on the same graphic template to streamline and speed up the publishing process.

Lay-out that breathes relevance for the Group

Typefaces, illustration styles and the color palette all fit the style of Colruyt Group because the document needed to breathe relevance for the Group. We used a composition of white space and photography very consciously to make all content feel generally understandable. Graphic elements were given distinct colors; shapes and sizes to facilitate navigation through the document and illustrations are highly informative while remaining simple enough for the report to keep the reading experience light.
The result
Because the content is conveyed in such a pleasant and appealing way, more people get enthusiastic about current trends, leading to more engagement towards innovation. The goal is to now keep on creating new trend reports through the same engaging reporting language as the first report we did for Colruyt Group.
Thank you for reworking the trend report! We’re all very enthusiastic about it! Fresh and positive design, really invites to read! Top!

Fiona Ketele

Trendwatcher for Colruyt Group

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New horizons in long term EEG monitoring

Challenge

Using the brain in the prevention of severe hypoglycemia

Hyposafe SubQ is a project dedicated to the prevention of severe hypoglycemia. The human brain, which lives primarily on glucose, begins to demonstrate recognizable electric patterns approximately 20 minutes before hypoglycemia. By continuously measuring the electrical activity within the brain, hypoglycemia can be detected, and people with diabetes get alerted before the situation becomes critical. When alerted, the patient can take the necessary action required to avoid hypoglycemia and thereafter adjust his/her glucose level to the appropriate interval.
The hyposafe SubQ technology allows to monitor your brain activity continuously. The challenge is to create a product that is only minimally obstructive as it has to be worn continuously. When designing the external device we had to make sure that the product is as invisible as possible, yet still able to interact with the user, especially when an alarm occurs. Being used 24 hours, the reliability of the product is of extreme importance.
Achilles Design took the lead in the mechanical design & engineering of the external device in close collaboration with Zenso who was responsible for the overall design of the external communication device and designed all the electronics, firmware and PC-based software from feasibility phase up to design and production. Focus on superior quality and reliability was key to achieve the Uneeg quality requirements.
Product Design

Slink design

The product consists of a tiny implant and an external communication device that is connected with the implant through an inductive coil. The final design of the external device is a highly miniaturized flat product that can be magnetically fixed below the patient’s clothes. The magnet has a circle shape allowing the patient to blindly find their way to the button positioned on the inside of his shirt. The optimized magnet will ensure a strong fixation allowing the user to be very active, perform sport etc. An auditory and visual alarm is given in case of a nearing hypoglycemia.
Engineering

Engineered for production

Achilles Design took the lead in all mechanical design & engineering, while Zenso was responsible for the design of the external communication device and designed all the electronics, firmware and PC-based software from feasibility phase up to design and production. Focus on superior quality and reliability was key to achieve the Uneeg quality requirements.
Future vision

And next...

The Unique Uneeg technology can be used to treat other diseases. Identifying the seizure burden for the uncontrolled epilepsy patient. Getting an objective measure of the individual patient’s epileptic seizure burden can be a challenge for the treating physician and it is crucial for guiding treatment. The UNEEG 24/7 EEGTM SubQ will offer medical professionals more accurate knowledge of brain activity and seizure – 24 hours a day.
The result
The Danish company Uneeg succeeded to develop a disruptive system for ultra long-term monitoring EEG. The UNEEG 24/7 EEGTM SubQ is CE marked and ready to offer medical professionals more accurate knowledge of brain activity and seizures. Thereby, physicians gain a solid foundation for optimizeing the use of medicine, thus improving the patients’ quality of life and potentially avoiding seizures altogether.

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Focus on Smart Safety

Challenge
Iristick wanted to create a pair of smart safety glasses for industrial use. It was imperative that the glasses were fully Safety Certified, passing strict regulations. The other unique selling points that Iristick wanted to bring to market included a powerful high-resolution zoom lens; they also wanted to leverage the computing power of smartphones rather than any possible onboard processing power, besides adjustable temples, and fully adjustable displays.
We transformed the client’s early specifications into a concept design through sketches, CAD, and early mock-ups, thereby translating the specific safety eyewear requirements into a light and comfortable design. During the whole process, we challenged every design idea against the end user’s needs as well as production requirements.
System design

Specifications become tangible

First of all, we had to create a comfortable pair of glasses, which the end user was willing to wear during an 8-hour work shift. In order to develop the wearing comfort, prototyping played a very important role in this project from the very beginning.
Engineering

World's first 3D printed safety glasses

The challenge was to design a product that combines lightweight comfort with high-tech performance, and to enable efficient larger-volume production. 3D-printing was chosen as the production method of the main body for these exact reasons. Our design allowed Iristick to go to market 8-12 months earlier than with traditional injection molded parts.

User comfort through patented technology

Stability of the display proved to be one of the most important details. We came up with a new type of mechanical joint for the display arm. This patented mechanism enables the user to put the display where they want it without worrying that it’s going to move while they are working.
The result
The end result is a Red Dot Award winning, lightweight, and comfortable pair of smartglasses that are also the world’s first 3D printed, fully Safety-Certified glasses. Iristick’s smart glasses transform the way operators work. The powerful zoom lens can scan barcodes from two meters distance, and the user can involve remote experts by sharing camera pictures and having a conversation. Voice commands or hand gestures allow the user to interact with his glasses.
We saw the immense potential of smart glasses that could meet the needs of an industrial environment. Achilles helped us to bring this idea to become an innovative and unique product.

Riemer Grootjans

CTO Iristick

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A premium cycling brand named after the most famous rider ever!

Challenge

Eddy Merckx

Every sport has its legends, but cycling has a living legend: Eddy Merckx, the most successful cyclist of all time, is the top authority on human powered speed. For several years, Eddy Merckx cycles maintained a strategic design partnership with Achilles Design to guarantee a unique design language throughout their entire bicycle range.
Achilles covered the full spectrum of design work by integrating solid industrial design with sleek styling. Achilles Design contributed its distinguished branding and refined graphic design capabilities, from integrating new trends in bicycle design to the graphic layout of the annual sales pitch.
Product design

Power under control.

Eddy Merckx Cycles wants to offer high quality bicycles for demanding racing cyclists. New models all have to fit a distinctive design identity, defined by technical requirements such as stiffness, compliance, geometries and UCI regulations. Complex surface modelling allows us to achieve a good tension between stiffness, stability and safety; technical features like cable integration, seat post clamps, and hardware mounts – all combined in an attractive design.
Brand design

Experience Eddy's racing spirit

All model names are linked to 1 of the 525 victories in Eddy’s incredible career. Each frame is developed around unique characteristics. The graphics should embrace the industrial design. Blending Eddy’s true racing spirit and future market expectations results into a differentiating appearance of each and every bike.
Prototyping

Make styling proposals that actually work.

Rapid prototyping of detailed CAD models is the perfect preparation for mold drawing and advanced composite lay-up technique. We translate functional and behavioral specifications into a manufacturable look and feel for the carbon, aluminum and steel frames of Eddy Merckx Cycles.
Applying graphics on a bicycle frame requires accurate shaping and dimensioning of decals or paint masks. We combine 3D models with hand on cutting and pasting to define attractive but feasible designs.
The result
A complete range of highest quality bicycles for demanding racing cyclists.

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Protected: test-pw

Challenge

Carefree happiness

Pregnancy, giving birth, and raising young children creates demand for baby supplies. Natural requirements for anything that concerns a baby are quality and reliability, trust and comfort. For a retailer in baby supply, it is crucial not only to offer the right products, but to offer information around the subject, share relevant tips and tricks, and to make customers feel understood. Achilles Design was asked to help the brand to develop a visual identity that radiates cheerful comfort. A warm and balanced design that informs and inspires at the same time. It’s not just about selling baby products. It’s about offering (future) moms proper advice, guidance and security.
kid reading
Approach

We combine our expertise

We work in close co-operation with the client, with whom we ran workshops and debriefs. We developed a dedicated communication strategy and determined the most suitable use of colour, typography and graphic elements.
We plan out an ideal scenario with several clear and fixed milestones to lead our way. With each milestone we take a step further down our creative path coming closer to the ultimate result.
Reseach

Market research and desktop research

Before we start designing, we went through a pre-study period, thereby running a desk research on the subject, during which we tried to better understand the customer and her needs. We then ran a gap analysis versus the current look and feel of Dreambaby and developed a new visual identity that closed the gap. The next step was to dissect the existing brand. This helped us to determine the characteristics of topics and to develop a suitable communication strategy.
Visual design

A toolkit for graphic designers

Instead of delivering a rigid corporate identity, we presented a toolkit the designers at Dreambaby can use to explore new boundaries. The tree in the logo was base for this toolkit. Next to representing new-born life and all the growth and blossoming potential it holds, the coloured leaves, which come in all shapes and sizes, can outgrow the tree and create a graphic world on their own, effectively becoming a dynamic logo. Although colours and illustration style are determined, icons can be added at will and new visual stories can be told.
The result
Dreambaby has a more focused and relevant visual identity for parents today.

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Protected: Test case protection

Challenge

Carefree happiness

Pregnancy, giving birth, and raising young children creates demand for baby supplies. Natural requirements for anything that concerns a baby are quality and reliability, trust and comfort. For a retailer in baby supply, it is crucial not only to offer the right products, but to offer information around the subject, share relevant tips and tricks, and to make customers feel understood. Achilles Design was asked to help the brand to develop a visual identity that radiates cheerful comfort. A warm and balanced design that informs and inspires at the same time. It’s not just about selling baby products. It’s about offering (future) moms proper advice, guidance and security.
kid reading
Approach

We combine our expertise

We work in close co-operation with the client, with whom we ran workshops and debriefs. We developed a dedicated communication strategy and determined the most suitable use of colour, typography and graphic elements.
We plan out an ideal scenario with several clear and fixed milestones to lead our way. With each milestone we take a step further down our creative path coming closer to the ultimate result.
Reseach

Market research and desktop research

Before we start designing, we went through a pre-study period, thereby running a desk research on the subject, during which we tried to better understand the customer and her needs. We then ran a gap analysis versus the current look and feel of Dreambaby and developed a new visual identity that closed the gap. The next step was to dissect the existing brand. This helped us to determine the characteristics of topics and to develop a suitable communication strategy.
Visual design

A toolkit for graphic designers

Instead of delivering a rigid corporate identity, we presented a toolkit the designers at Dreambaby can use to explore new boundaries. The tree in the logo was base for this toolkit. Next to representing new-born life and all the growth and blossoming potential it holds, the coloured leaves, which come in all shapes and sizes, can outgrow the tree and create a graphic world on their own, effectively becoming a dynamic logo. Although colours and illustration style are determined, icons can be added at will and new visual stories can be told.
The result
Dreambaby has a more focused and relevant visual identity for parents today.

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A new and more extended visual identity for Dreambaby

Challenge

Carefree happiness

Pregnancy, giving birth, and raising young children creates demand for baby supplies. Natural requirements for anything that concerns a baby are quality and reliability, trust and comfort. For a retailer in baby supply, it is crucial not only to offer the right products, but to offer information around the subject, share relevant tips and tricks, and to make customers feel understood. Achilles Design was asked to help the brand to develop a visual identity that radiates cheerful comfort. A warm and balanced design that informs and inspires at the same time. It’s not just about selling baby products. It’s about offering (future) moms proper advice, guidance and security.
kid reading
Approach

We combine our expertise

We work in close co-operation with the client, with whom we ran workshops and debriefs. We developed a dedicated communication strategy and determined the most suitable use of colour, typography and graphic elements.
We plan out an ideal scenario with several clear and fixed milestones to lead our way. With each milestone we take a step further down our creative path coming closer to the ultimate result.
Reseach

Market research and desktop research

Before we start designing, we went through a pre-study period, thereby running a desk research on the subject, during which we tried to better understand the customer and her needs. We then ran a gap analysis versus the current look and feel of Dreambaby and developed a new visual identity that closed the gap. The next step was to dissect the existing brand. This helped us to determine the characteristics of topics and to develop a suitable communication strategy.
Visual design

A toolkit for graphic designers

Instead of delivering a rigid corporate identity, we presented a toolkit the designers at Dreambaby can use to explore new boundaries. The tree in the logo was base for this toolkit. Next to representing new-born life and all the growth and blossoming potential it holds, the coloured leaves, which come in all shapes and sizes, can outgrow the tree and create a graphic world on their own, effectively becoming a dynamic logo. Although colours and illustration style are determined, icons can be added at will and new visual stories can be told.
Style elements

Soft Colours and round shapes that accents feminine attributes

As the end customers of baby supplies are typically women, we selected softer colours and rounder shapes for the catalogue, thereby appealing more to women and demonstrating warmth and empathy rather than emphasizing a more neutral and cool quality focus. As both warm colours and round shapes are also associated with baby care, the choice of colours and shapes seemed an obvious way to upgrade the impact of the new visual identity.
The result
Dreambaby has a more focused and relevant visual identity for parents today.

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Dreambee collection with a huge A-factor

Challenge

A collection that can compete with the A brands

Designing a new character for the baby collection of Dreambee, the private label of Dreambaby, is a huge responsibility. For the next two years it will represent everything that Dreambee stands for, reaching a wide audience and competing with the prevailing A brands. It needs to meet a number of conditions before being selected as mascot of Dreambee. It has to be beautiful, trendy and accessible that can be perfectly combined with the basic pieces of Dreambee Essentials. This figure is a true friend of the baby, unbound to a single place within the environment of the child.
Approach

We combine our expertise

We plan out an ideal scenario with several clear and fixed milestones to lead our way. The entire process is done in close collaboration with all parties involved: marketing team, purchasing, brand manager, textile experts and fashion designers. Together we create a full collection of baby products ready for market.
With each milestone we take a step further down our creative path coming closer to the ultimate result.
Design

Colors, patterns and themes

We put al lot of thought into all of the products and toys within the collection.
Product know how

Technical detailing

At last, we choose the right materials and draw up technical specifications for the placement of the chosen character and patterns on each product.
The result
A beautiful collection with a little friend for all babies.

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Security as a design driver

Challenge
At the very core of Worldline is security and at the heart of their secure data flow sits Adyton: the Hardware Security Module or HSM. Adyton contains the software keys that are needed for decoding all kinds of encrypted information. Because this product contains very valuable information, high-end security is crucial. In this project, the challenge was to design a device that excels in security and performance (e.g. heat management) without any compromise.
Achilles defined the product architecture, followed by the mechanical design with the ideal match between protection, heat management and design for assembly. This project delivered a solution where technology, functionality, aesthetics and ease of use truly go hand-in-hand.
Product Architecture

Protective layers keep intruders out, but the heat inside.

To protect the product from being cooked inside its own skin, heat dispersion became one of the key factors in the design process. In the end, the inner module was so well secured, it was even impossible for the heat to escape. This specific topic required various design iterations, simulations and testing. An elaborate system of heat pipes, penetrating every protective layer proved to be the most feasible solution.
Mechanical Design

Form followed function. And vice versa.

Technology and aesthetics went hand-in-hand in this project. The heat management defined the form and the form defined the component layout. The outer casing, entirely made out of milled aluminum, resulted in a high-end aesthetic, with a lot of respect for the quality of the material and attention to details.
Engineering

Performance, aesthetics and production.

Close collaboration with the suppliers allowed us to deliver a mature design that was optimized in both performance, aesthetics and efficiency in production. We optimized every component to ensure a smooth manufacturing and flawless assembly process.
The result
The result is a product that once again meets the high Worldline standards. For this reason, it was awarded both a Red Dot Design Award & an iF Award.

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Increasing children’s safety in traffic with Virtual Reality

Challenge
Most people think of Virtual Reality (VR) as a tool that is made predominantly for entertainment. In this project, our client wanted to go even further, by using this tool to bring traffic education into Flanders’ classrooms. Aeroplane and Achilles joined forces with “Virtual Learning is Reality” to create VRkeer, a virtual traffic education game in which children encounter a series of traffic scenarios that contain vital safety lessons and directions. The game required a dedicated set of VR hardware that was easy to transport, setup in classrooms, and used by children.
Aeroplane (Achilles Design’s VR spin-off) was assigned with the creation of this virtual world and all of its characters, objects and challenges. They needed a dedicated controller to make the experience of riding your bicycle through a virtual word as authentic as possible. We designed a steering wheel that houses two Oculus Touch controllers and offers a manipulation similar to a bicycle handlebar.
Interaction Design
The Interfaces VR uses vary wildly from game to game. These interfaces operate in all 3 dimensions, allowing for new and creative interaction designs. Unfortunately, these spatial interfaces are often confusing for first-time users. Since the VRkeer education sets will move from classroom to classroom, we had to shorten the users’ learning curve as much as possible.
To lower the learning curve, we designed a VR interface that works in only 2 dimensions. The interface and controller handlebar are designed around the natural rotation of a bicycle handlebar. The handlebar rolls on top of the table with 4 rollers, allowing it to rotate freely around its center. This makes the navigation and riding experience feel very authentic to cycling. Once children wear the VR goggles, they intuitively know what to do and start climbing up their learning curve.
the result
The result is a 3D-printed handlebar with two Oculus Touch controllers that rotate freely on a desk. The controllers snap into place without the need for any additional tools and can be easily replaced in the case of a defect. The VR handlebars, together with the rift headset, are passed from classroom to classroom in a carrier case to educate children in an immersive but controlled environment on traffic safety. More information on https://vrkeer.app/

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Seriously streetwise

Challenge

The official FIBA 3x3 World Tour basketball backstop

When Schelde Sports, an ABEO group company, asked us to transform their SAM 225 Club basketball goal into a device that is fit for the FIBA 3X3 World Tour, we jumped at the chance to show them our skills on the court. In just a few weeks, we came up with the final product.
“The true challenge was to translate the wishes of the customer into a feasible design in a really short period of time.”
Approach

Training the innocent looking SAM 225 Club into its new tougher looks

It had to have enough muscle to stand up against all weather conditions, be safe and secure, and still be able to deliver the messages of the sponsors. Together with padding specialists Coolen from Eindhoven, and thanks to Schelde Sports’s expertise and know-how, our design was detailed to perfection and quickly realized.
“We made it real thanks to a full-scale prototype.”
Concept

A portable competition basketball backstop unit

This basketball tower is fitted with the SAM (Spring Assisted Mechanism) system, a Pro Action 180° dunk ring, an anti-whip net and a full set protection padding for front, sides, backboard and neck. It’s completely freestanding thanks to the integrated extra counter-weights, no floor anchoring required. It’s ideal for indoor and outdoor events thanks to its extra thick and strong paddings with urban look. It can be moved by 1 person and positioned using the APF (Automatic Pedestal Feet) system.
The result
Unique game, unique backstop! As a result of that FIBA chose Schelde Sports as their official partner for the FIBA 3X3 World Tour and all FIBA 3X3 World championships.
We are proud to team up with FIBA and become the official backstop unit supplier for the 3x3 World Tour and the 3x3 World Championships.

Bart Prinssen, ABEO

ABEO, Schelde Sports – Managing Director

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Contemporary design with a playful retro twist

Challenge

Create a packaging that appeals a young audience

Zeeland’s Roem is part of the Roem Group, Europe’s largest seafood processor. In a very conservative market, their Oyster packaging business somewhat lacked a strong brand recognition and a distinctive profile that would allow them to stand out against their competitors. With a more contemporary design, the company wanted to reach out to a new and younger target group. At the same time, Zeeland’s Roem wanted the new design to show the respect for the company’s long tradition in oyster farming.
Approach

Packaging

For practical reasons the actual packaging (the basket) had to be preserved. So we went for a visual makeover of the top card. Furthermore, we added a small booklet for additional storytelling.
Concept

bright, fluorescent colors and a humorous nod to the traditional

Dutch oyster farming has a long family tradition. Furthermore, competitors often come from the same region or village. So the importance of heritage is sensitive and should not be underestimated. Unfortunately, this often leads to conservative design. The challenge was to come up with an attractive and contemporary brand, without renouncing tradition. As a reference to the long history in craftsmanship, we used engraved illustrations, but with a slight twist to strip it from its ponderous nature. The use of a simple, sans serif font and fluorescent colors gives the packaging an instant contemporary feel and makes it undeniably ‘pop’.

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Enhancing the readability of pre-packaged meat products in the fresh food department

Challenge

Making meat products easier to find, identify and choose

Adjusting the space, packaging and arrangements of products in order to support quicker and easier identification and choice among the different qualities, types, cuts and preparations of meat products in the fresh food department. OKay hired Achilles Design for a project that aimed at stimulating the overall performance of their fresh-cut, pre-packaged meat products section of their fresh food department. With other influential trends are also affecting volume, such as new lifestyles and growing climate awareness, the overall goal was to retain a fair market share. Our role was to research, develop and validate solutions for the hypothesis that the current way the products were presented, lacked intuitiveness and was detrimental to the attractiveness of the products. For us, that meant that we had to analyze the design of the space, the packaging, and the customer journey.
Approach

Analyzing how we make choices in meat products

With the constraint of limiting scope to the space of using only fresh food department adjustments, we first analyzed the in-store customer journey that leads to the purchase of pre-packaged meat. We therefore had to find out how a consumer is becoming aware of the product range, and then finding out which search attributes and quality cues are used to come closer to a product selection.
Together with the OKay-team, we researched, interviewed, and observed consumers about their process and preferences and observed how employees structured the spaces. Using different methods and prototypes to capture information, we learned what struggles, associations, and perceptions were influencing customer choice and behavior. We generated hypotheses about how the space, range structure and packaging could be optimized to help consumers make choices.

Validating scenarios

From the hypotheses, we generated a range of solutions, ranging from more transformational to incremental. This was done in co-creation with the relevant stakeholders such as the retailers’ buyers, packaging designers, marketeers, infrastructure designers and store managers. Individual items, such as the labels on the packaging or the angle to present a packaging to provide visibility, were combined into total concepts. These were translated into multiple interactive Virtual Reality prototypes of the entire space and components, which we used to immerse and research consumers opinion and behavior.
The concept offers solutions on the level of packaging, section, and section structure.
Concept

Spatial service system

The adapted packaging includes a new materialization and label design that facilitates easier and faster identification of meat cut and meat type. For the new packaging concepts, sustainability criteria were also used to generate and select product candidates. The sections got updated with new lighting, new visual cues, quieter colors to promote a premium feel and better visibility on the cuts by optimizing facing and view angles. The validated solution was then summarized and translated into a service blueprint.
The result
The method and output of this service design proved to be a valuable guide to support choices during implementation. By applying the proposed solutions, OKay projects that the revenues and market share in pre-packaged meat are secured and remain competitive in the changing market.

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Restyling Festival Lolands

Challenge

Design a festival event and keep the underlying motivation present

Lolands is the umbrella name for benefit activities with the goal to support A.L.S. research. The biggest attraction is the annual family festival in Scherpenheuvel. The reason for the establishment of Lolands is a very personal story. A good friend, Lorenz (Lo, for the friends) died at a very young age from the consequences of A.L.S. After 5 years of successful editions with an increasing number of visitors, there was a demand for a more professional approach in marketing and communication.
Concept

Graph with content

A festival like Lolands demands a playful and positive look-and-feel, without losing sight of the goal and its underlying motivation. A key requirement of its brand identity therefore has to be that graphics are substantiated and not just empty decorative elements. In this case, one where the tribute to Lo is palpably present during the event.
Deliverables

Functionally

We delivered a new logo, a colorful event poster, and a sponsor recruitment file. We also provided the client with an 'amusement package' of graphical templates, such as an own font and illustrations, with which the organization itself can get to work quickly.
On the emotional side, we have created a red thread that runs throughout our visual brand work as a graphic leitmotiv, symbolizing the thought of Lo, his enormous perseverance and his ability of true friendship. Key messages are: keep the attention for ALS by organizing positive events, help research into A.L.S. by financial sponsorship, and be strong together.
The result
We developed and delivered a new visual identity of a festival that brings A.L.S. to the attention of people in a light, positive, accessible way.
“Achilles Design made us see how to give our festival a different look... In all confidence Achilles kept our festival under the microscope with their knowledge, which created a ‘wow-feeling’ already after the first elaborated proposals with us and especially with me. We immediately saw that professional people were working here. We would never have come up with the ideas that came up at the time. The end result was great for us. The sponsor file got a very fresh look, the posters, the flyers, the banners, the t-shirts .... In short, everything got its own cachet. All this gave our festival its own character, thanks to Achilles and his professional staff. It was a pleasure to work together and we are also grateful to them for that.”

Vincent

Co-organizer Lolands

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A powerful story for a professional investment firm

Challenge

Creating a strong brand that matches Korys’ open-minded vision on sustainable investments for a better world

As the Colruyt family office, Korys is at the same time one of the largest non-institutional investors in Belgium. With a team of c. 30 professionals, the firm typically invests in promising scale-ups and later-stage businesses that are focused around the theme of PPP (People, Profit, Planet). Korys asked Achilles Design to create a brand identity that reflects its sustainability-related guiding principles and investment philosophy. In order to fully understand the essence of the client’s business identity, we first conducted a thorough DNA exercise and closely co-operated with the client to redefine the firm’s mission, vision and values. Based on that, we developed a renewed brand identity, practically from scratch.
Concept

The hazel tree as a source of inspiration

The family name ‘Colruyt’ is derived from ‘corylus’, the Latin word for ‘hazel’. Corylus is also etymologically related to the Greek ‘korys’, which means ‘bearer of fruit’. The hazel tree is robust, has a long lifespan, and has the ability to let an entire ecosystem flourish around it. As such, a hazel tree represents a perfect analogy to our client’s vision of investing. The hazel is therefore the core theme on which we built our client’s brand story.
We developed a clear and transparent story, easily accessible, and profoundly substantiated and supported the brand further and deeper through suitable photography, language, interior, architecture, and a focused choice of colours and materials. The client’s new visual identity is now reflected in practically every of his external communication.
The result
As a final result, Achilles Design produced deliverables related to storytelling and relevant visualisations that represent the brand’s essence and that support the brand’s credibility.

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Manage your bicycle fleet

Challenge
Kipando believes that cycling is one of the key mobility solutions in a changing world of movement. Target is to increase the availability of bicycles through an electronic bike lock integrated with an online service that let bikers locate, and rent a bike. By focusing on the B2B market, the system had to incorporate several points of views from the various stakeholders.
Being a start-up, Kipando needed a partner with a proven track record in designing smart products as well as bicycles. They therefore joined forces with Achilles to develop their service solution. We had to combine strategic service design with state-of-the-art product design, engineering and digital design. We were responsible for the development and total project management.
Customer journey

Mapping out all aspects of the solution from the user’s point of view

We explored different product-service-systems and examined how they affect the use case scenario. Alterations in these product-service-system have a major impact on the user experience, the complexity of the device, the reliability and flexibility of the system and even the overall business model. For example, a GPS antenna in the lock could be great for locating the bike, but it would also consume a lot of battery power, require regular recharging, etc.
Mechanical design

Small, smaller, smallest

A major challenge in this project was to create a bike lock that can withstand brute force, and is still compact, lightweight and allow the bike to be safely locked. We came up with a patented mechanical solution that combines all requirements in a simple and reliable design and that can be easily attached on all standard bikes.
Prototyping

Functional prototypes to validate performance

Prototyping is generally very essential in product design, but it was particularly in this project. Early in the design process, raw prototypes gain insights e.g. on how easy a specific shape would be applicable on different bike frames. Further detailing of the design results in more advanced prototypes that allow verification of functionality and extra performance requirements such as water tightness, durability, etc.
The result
The solution is a bicycle lock that can be accessed either with a smart- phone app using BLE or phoneless with a keypad.. Need a bike? simply order your bike with your mobile phone, and with your mobile in your pocket you can access your bike with a simple push on the button!

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The royal way to explore

Challenge

A high quality e-bike with a revolutionary navigation cockpit

We helped Kingo to provide sightseers with a fun, novel and healthy way of exploring the places they visit, while being at the wheel of their own experience.
“A smart guide e-bike, equipped with fascinating routes for tourists to explore."
Approach

Everybody Kingo?

The hotels and the tourists are only two groups of stakeholders within the Kingo service system. To thoroughly understand all of Kingo’s players, we organized co-creation workshops with users, who fit the Kingo profiles. This helped us to form a complete picture, to cater to their needs and wishes and to provide them with exciting value propositions.

Shaping our ideas

Through sketches, basic 3D models and rough breadboards, we explored valuable solutions for the many challenges at hand. This included the general cockpit build-up, attachment to the bike, waterproofing and integration of connectors, speakers, power button and other design constraints. Thanks to our experience, a thorough analysis of the e-bikes market, and Kingo's company values, we could quickly list requirements for the bike frame and all of its components. To start talks with potential suppliers, we created a smart photo montage of existing frames, newly developed components and graphic decals which simulated the perfect Kingo e-bike.

Innovative electronics

Zenso, our privileged partner for state-of-the-art electronic design, took care of the internal hardware. Together we selected components and checked for potential interference with the housing and their detailed 3D model of the PCB. Joining forces, we solved problems regarding thermoregulation, cable management, and faster assembly.

User interface of the navigation cockpit

The digital user interface has a 1024 x 600 resolution touchscreen and provides the user with different route options. On time notifications of points of interest and points of eating and drinking give the user information in a way that was never seen before. Using barebone wireframes we constructed the structure of the app, the icons, and the animations that will support the user having a new way of experiencing an e-bike ride. In every wireframe iteration the icon design and styling of the app were evaluated and redirected to meet the needs of the end-user until it was deemed a perfect fit.

Prototyping

By sourcing the right parts and materials, within budget, we could quickly perform tests on the first prototypes. Checking waterproofness, finetuning antenna placement, and evaluating readability of different displays we were able verify these critical functionalities in an early stage of the design process.
"Customer journeys, experience maps and service blueprints delivered a list of challenging requirements.”
Concept

The most comfortable way to discover an area

The Kingo Smart Bike is a connected e-bike equipped with a 10 inch cockpit that operates as a true bicycle board computer. It displays real-time telemetric bike data, such as speed, battery percentage and distance, and has a high-end bicycle navigation system. The Kingo Explore App itself offers an on-board digital touristic cycle map with three different navigation options. In the ‘discover the region’ modus, tourists can freely explore the region. The map on screen shows the cycle networks and touristic highlights of the region. Together with the ‘search by address’ option, the cyclist is in full charge to adapt his journey at any given moment. Finally, ‘predefined routes’ with points of interests to visit offer tourists full guidance for their trip.
The result
The royal way! After a few iterations, Kingo could launch the bikes at a fine selection of hotels. At this very moment customers are enjoying the Kingo experience.
Achilles Design was the perfect match for us as a startup: from first design thinking and ideation sketches to photorealistic renderings and prototyping techniques. All steps made it easier for us to validate our assumptions."

Cédric Langer

Co-founder - COO

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Ride Ellio

Challenge

Next generation speed pedelec that replaces the car

With Ellio, Intu-e-Drive aims to develop a bicycle that could be a full-fledged replacement for a car, a high end speed pedelec that’s safe, reliable and intuitive to ride. This is achieved through a series of innovative features: a 2 wheel drive system, automatic gear changes, autonomous braking, a powerful battery and intelligent control software. This bicycle is an innovative mobility solution that takes away the uncertainties of being on the go.
Achilles Design was involved from the early start of this project; from the first garage built model inspirational concept sketches to the final detailing necessary for tooling and production. Offering a lean and cooperative design approach, tailored to the challenges, speed and budget of a start-up company.
Approach

Moving fast and efficient towards relevant product-market fit concepts

We supported Intu-e-Drive in the search for a product architecture that merged all the technical requirements (frame design, battery, motors, controller, etc.) with the functionality and desirability of a high-end speed pedelec. Building upon our expertise in bicycle design and market knowledge we are able to quickly develop design concepts with a high feasibility rate. Allowing us to move fast and efficient towards relevant product-market fit concepts in design sprints.
Develop for prototyping

Verify and improve ride quality and appearance

Initial concept drawings are refined towards the build of a prototype. Many cycling products can only be truly tested on a physical and functional prototype. Consecutive development and prototype cycles allows us to verify and improve its ride quality and appearance, but also to test technical, mechanical and electronic solutions.
Detail for industrialization

Our experience in different disciplines

Achilles Design played an extensive role in the industrialization process, going over all the components and defining their technical requirements and in respect to the intended look and feel. Our experience in different disciplines such as frame production, assembly, plastic mouldings, electric components, electronic controllers, etc. allows us to support you all the way to a finalized and functional product.
The result
Ellio is the next generation of speed pedelecs with fully integrated safety and intuitive riding features. An innovative solution for a future proof and sustainable mobility.

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All-in-one sun protection system

Challenge

One system, one family

The construction business becomes more complex every day and architectural designs often create challenging window applications. For sun protection systems, being able to respond to every building situation is the key. The challenge here was to create a custom solution for every need… with one system. That’s what Harol clients really want.
Achilles took care of the product design, prototyping, engineering and validation of the entire product portfolio of the VZ family. By creating two base products – each with distinctly different options – the number of combinations and various application possibilities became almost endless. A clear focus on modularity was crucial. But also the possibility to expand the basic set-up with different options was an important part of the development.
User-centered design

Easy to install

Observations and interviews with trained installers helped us to define the most difficult, error-sensitive or time-consuming operations during the installation process. With that knowledge in mind, we designed a new product with a very straightforward installation process. All important technical components are easily accessible from the top of the product. This offers many advantages during installation and after-sales service. The prototypes that we produced in-house helped us to visualize and verify this new workflow. This led to getting the crucial feedback from technicians, installers, marketeers, etc. that made the design a success.

Virtual reality in the design process

Our partner Aeroplane helped us experience the product in true size, in a representative environment. Thanks to VR, designers and product managers could easily switch between configurations, materials and colors in seconds. This would be impossible in real life, or with illustrations on paper. At the same time, VR offered unique opportunities to visualize the mechanics and interactions between the parts. This can become a very useful training tool for installers to quickly gather insights in the construction and possibilities of the system.
Mechanical Design

Thinking of the big picture, while designing the details.

Designing a system is much more complicated than a single product. It requires a specific approach. The most difficult part is that every decision you make in the design on component level, can have an influence on the entire system. That's why it's crucial to keep the global picture with all its possibilities in mind, while you are working on the details. Good visualizations, 3D-CAD models and rapid prototypes can help to illustrate how all the different elements interact with each other. With a limited but intelligently balanced package of components, it's possible to build a complete range of products with a wide variety of dimensions and application situations.

A dream for architects. Rewarded by a jury of experts.

Apart from its versatility, the product stands out with a very clean, pure, compact and timeless design. Its clean lines and hidden screws, make the product blend easily in every building style from classic to modern. These functional and aesthetical qualities were quickly noticed by the experts in the field. In 2016 Z&R magazine rewarded the VZ-family as product of the year. 2 years later, it was one of the three nominees for the “Innovation Price” at R+T 2018, world’s leading trade fair for roller shutters, doors/gates and sun protection systems.  
Engineering

When the design is finished, the real work begins.

As you cannot verify everything in a 3D CAD model, a lot of effort went to real life verification. Multiple iterations of rapid prototypes, milled parts and first production batches were assembled to test, optimize and verify the design
The result
The results is a complete product family with a pure and minimalistic look, is straightforward to produce and easy to assemble. The basic system is also easy expandable with different options such as different support structures, LED lighting, additional screens (AIR)... but most important: it works great! even after 10.000 times of opening and closing. The VZ-range is like a Swiss army knife: it offers a solution for every need.

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Designing a 24/7 store concept

Challenge

A store that fits the life of busy people, 24/7

Creating a retail concept, targeted at young people who live in or commute through city centers, that supports unplanned shopping missions and facilitates having tasty and balanced meals for the next 24 hours. In 2015, Colruyt Group approached us to develop an idea that was launched by a visionary employee. After helping with tuning the briefing, the challenge was to create a concept that would strengthen the position of the retailer in city centers, to attract new audience and provide an answer to changing shopper motivations, habits and preferences, such as seeking 24/7 instant fulfilment.
We designed all the components and touchpoints of a modern retail concept: the offering, the space and its services in and beyond the physical location. Other than that, we also did the foundations of the product assortment and the means to quickly find instant fulfilment in that assortment by designing a visual identity, a concept for interior and functional furniture and an app concept.
Approach

Getting the briefing right

We helped in developing the initial idea by exploring and generating the mission and vision of the retail concept, analyzing and defining its target audience and stakeholders, and finally translating it into challenges that had to be solved.

Designing an identity

Developing a strong identity is a cornerstone in delivering new commercial concepts, as it should immediately reflect what value the consumer can expect. To facilitate conceptualization of services, products, architecture and interiors, we first created an identity that matched the lifestyle of the audience. After interviewing and analyzing how the target audience chooses to spend their time to shop and to dine, we envisioned experiences in storyboards that explained the newly designed journeys. From these service scenarios, we designed all the components and touchpoints of a modern retail concept: the offering, the space and its services in and beyond the physical location. We designed the foundations of the product assortment and the means to quickly find instant fulfilment in that assortment by designing a visual identity, a concept for the interior and furniture and an app concept.

Familiarizing stakeholders with the concept

Prior to discussing the concept, we needed to enable stakeholders to quickly empathize with the target audience. With short presentation slots in mind, a short movie depicting the lives of the target audience was created. The journeys and different concepts were illustrated in detail to make sure the experience was communicated well. To make sure the visceral elements such as light & color recipes were simulated realistically, we built a miniature physical model with working lighting and service details.
Concept

A store that adapts it’s experience to the time of day

The retail concept is a small convenience store that blurs the lines between retail and gastronomy, and will be located near busy places, such as railway stations or city centers. It will be open 24/7. We chose to build an identity around ‘appearance recipes’: adapting the total experience to the time of day by changing the lighting, color, store interior & lay-out and assortment and really convey the atmosphere of mornings, lunches, dinner and nighttime consumption.
Visitors of the store who are looking for a quick solution can significantly reduce the hassle of choice and their time in-store by picking from a central “moments-counter”: a piece of furniture that has an assortment for each moment during the day. The counter will be re-oriented during the day, so that a relevant offer is always in the closest proximity of the checkout. Reorienting the counter will also change the appearance of the store: the total experience is altered by a change in lighting, messages displayed on the screens, such as weather forecast that day or local evening events to attend, etc..
The assortment is organized around these times with emphasis on facilitating choice and reducing time in preparation without compromising quality. To be able to pull this off, common items are supplemented with a private label. For each moment, there are ready to heat/eat items as well as inspirational menus with curated self-serve ingredient counters. To be able to match the lifestyle of the target audience, digital services and an app integrate into the experience by providing features that support the journeys: messaging about products, reserving breakfast pick-ups, notifying about new menu’s that match food preferences of couples and groups, offering traffic and commuting insights, etc.
The result
The result is an integral convenience store concept that matches with the busy lives of its target audiences, integrates the digital realm and offers relief for those who have trouble in holding on to routine in shopping, deciding what to eat today or tomorrow, or need something in a moment’s notice.

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Delivering a smooth grocery pick-up service

Challenge

Support and optimize the on-site customer journey

Creating and organizing the spatial elements, being architecture, interaction modules and signalisation to ensure a smooth and branded service delivery for grocery pick-ups. In 2015, Colruyt Group asked us to redefine the grocery pick-up service “Collect & Go”. Doing groceries is often looked at as a nuisance, requiring significant efforts and time. Offering an e-commerce solution can offer relief, on the condition that an excellent service and experience of receiving the goods is provided. Together with their internal design team, we were tasked to design the on-site spatial elements and the user flow to position the service as a fast, dedicated, cost-and-client-friendly service provider.
Approach

Analyzing, designing and service scenarios

By analyzing different pick-up types, interviewing consumers and employees, and performing service safaris of both the current and competitive services, we laid out a framework that enabled strategic input and evaluation of design decisions for the customer journey and experience. This was used to initiate a collaborative process of designing new scenarios, tapping into the knowledge of a multidisciplinary team of marketeers, strategists and designers. Newly developed scenarios were used to list and describe the processes and touchpoints that had to be designed or redesigned. Using the criteria, such as total service delivery time, a broad array of solutions were developed: interaction modules, architectural solutions and signalisation concepts.
Moving through iterations and prototypes Gradually adding more detail and integrating partial solutions, we matured the service concept by testing and modifying service flows, architectural designs, interaction modules, interaction concepts and wayfinding. What started with cardboard & paper prototypes and ended with a fully functional prototype.
Concept

Spatial service system

The value of its solution is not only how well each individual component is designed. The real value is sum of all its parts, how well they integrate into each other. Reducing the time you spend on picking up your groceries, will depend on the time it takes to understand the architecture, which will be supported by wayfinding solutions or how car-friendly the site is. It will also depend on the time spent on interaction modules, such as the scanning or checkout-module, where the shape of the hardware and or comprehendability of the screens is important. It will even depend on how well you can maneuver your cart through each passage.
The result
The result is a grocery pick-up service point, that is easy to understand and faster in use. It puts more emphasis on supporting and informing the user during the entire journey, from entering the site, to exiting with your groceries.

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Design & build of candle chapels

Context

Lighting candles

The Marian pilgrimage site of Scherpenheuvel has existed for over 400 years and remains the most popular pilgrimage town in the Benelux. Many pilgrims light a candle for the Virgin Mary during their visit. This age-old popular devotion is flourishing once more despite the erosion in support the Catholic Church is currently facing. Visitors light a candle in remembrance, to ask a question, or to reflect on something. There is a human story behind every lit candle. The votive candle chapels symbolize the union with Mary. People are not alone in their joy, their worries or their grief.  

Religious symbolism

Scherpenheuvel and the pilgrimage site in particular are permeated with "Marian symbolism". It is, as it were, a total work of art that emblematically shapes the symbolic vision of the Blessed Virgin. Urbanism, architecture, painting and sculpture each contribute to the project in their own way.
Challenge

To design contemporary solutions for a historical site

The pilgrimage site of Scherpenheuvel asked us to design new candle chapels to replace the old ones. A restoration of the old chapels was not an option since they had no historical value and, moreover, they were not part of a new overall vision for the revaluation of the Pilgrimage site. Our unique challenge was to re-interpret intimate historical design objectives and to revive them in a contemporary solution. Both the functional design of the chapel and the emotional experience of burning candles were central to this challenge.
Empathy is always central to Achilles' work. Empathy is the central key for every design thinker. In this case this means a far-reaching empathy with the pilgrims and the experience of "candle burning". And this by keeping in mind the functional requirements of maintenance and operation of the chapels.
Concept

Both their form and function are fully designed to provide 'a soothing encounter with Mary'

The construction is clearly divided between areas used by pilgrims and areas used for maintenance and service. There is a strict division between both main functions (front end and back end), meaning that quick maintenance does not interfere with the intimate and unmediated experience of burning a candle. The chapel also has clear instructions for its use built into its design. Special day candles were developed for the chapel. Thanks to the Marian crown at the top, they are perfect for burning outside. The cardboard lids serve as intention cards and enable people to share their stories with Mary.

Marian symbolism and integration

The pattern of the rear wall depicts a rosebush, the symbol of Mary, much like the arctic starflower and the private garden surrounding the Basilica. Thanks to the perforated rear wall, among others, the chapel fits in seamlessly with the private garden. The outer structure, made from weathering steel, refers to the ubiquitous ferrous sandstone on the site.
The result
The result is two beautiful and functional candle chapels that form a contemporary interpretation of an age-old Marian symbolism. Or just a beautiful place where hundreds of pilgrims experience an intense moment of reflection every day. An old ritual in a new jacket. Both their form and function are fully designed to provide 'a soothing encounter with Mary'.

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An authentic design for a restaurant of the future

Challenge

Develop the restaurant concept of the future

The Colmar Group hired us to develop the restaurant concept of the future, combining authentic, healthy, and traditional food with more efficient service and production processes, while rejuvenating its client mix. Can you combine sourcing and retaining good personnel, keeping operating costs under control (of which personnel costs are typically by far the largest category), optimizing service levels & processing times, while ensuring a comfortable, relaxed, and positive customer experience in order to maximize client retention.
In this project, Achilles deployed its Branding, Interior-, Service Design, and Innovation Consultancy disciplines to come up with a holistic restaurant concept that combines the authentic and rustic look-and-feel of a traditional and trustworthy restaurant with modern technologies and processes.
Visual identity

Look-and-feel reflects the restaurant's core values

In order to retain the traditional human interaction with the customer, the dishes are served by a waiter – therefore, the customer experience is comparable to that of a more traditional restaurant. The restaurant’s interior, its choice of colors, materials, light, and decoration are all carefully selected and curated to holistically reflect and support the restaurant’s characteristic.
Service design

Minimal processing times

In its restaurant, clients can order their dish via a practically self-explanatory digital menu card on an iPad that is available on every table. The digital application gives tips and provides background information where required. Customers can therefore autonomously order their dish, but a waiter is available in case of questions. The digital order system ensures equal customer attention and a timely order and preparation process.
Service design

Open kitchen concept

In its kitchen, the choice of dishes is optimized such that no experienced chefs are required. Instead, while the overall menu variety is satisfactory, dishes are composed of a reduced number of pick-and-place ingredients. A high-temperature conveyer furnace prepares the dish to perfection within a couple of minutes. Consequently, the number of required personnel in the kitchen is reduced to a minimum, while at the same time ensuring minimal preparation times for customer dishes.
The result
Operating efficiencies have been substantially improved, and actual human involvement is reduced to a minimum.

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Kangourou’s epic-design school supplies

Challenge

Up-market school supplies whit an epic design for teenagers

Our client asked us to design an original look for its school supplies and the packaging thereof.
Approach

Immerse in the world of young people

We immersed ourselves in the world of youngsters and to find out what they like. We found that they want hip and cool school supplies to show off. Young generation Z-ers require awesome gadgets that are cool, chill, and ‘epic’, and we gave them just that – with a wink and a nod to the parents.
Concept

Let's doodle!

Doodling (i.e. scribbling) is something nearly all teenagers do – whether consciously or unconsciously. Names, drawing and logos are scribbled all over pencil cases, notebooks, and book bags. Their drawing style is often influenced by comics, cartoons and (animated) films.

The design

Our starting point was a large and very crowded drawing in the style of a doodle that shows all attributes of the world of teenagers. Kangourou's school products, and what they are used for, are all incorporated in the drawing. This ‘master visual’ is used as a visual system, which is returning on all product packages with slight variations by highlighting a different focus point.

Packaging

By rotating the master visual, we could constantly generate a new fragment of the doodle. Every product category therefore has a different doodle fragment on its packaging, showing a scene that focuses on the product in question. We also use variations in the background colours. No monotony, just a cool and chill design. It makes learning more fun!
The result
From packaging to product range As it turned out, the doodle was also very useful as a pattern on a product range of stationery, wrapping-papers and a variety of school equipment.

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It’s in the bag!

Challenge

Develop each year a range of school bags for all ages

Kangourou, a private label of Colruyt Group, offers a wide variety of school related products. Together with the rebranding of their writing supplies, Achilles Design also helped to develop their range of school bags.   Kangourou offers satchels and backpacks for children of all ages, from toddlers to tweenies to teenagers. With all of these ages having different needs and ideas about what is trendy, it is hard to create a line which seems coherent and lives up to the brand, unless you have a solid handle on the core values of the brand. From this foundation you can build up the range. The functionality of the individual bags and the look and feel are thoroughly analyzed and improved upon year after year.
Inspiration

Trendwatching

Mood boards on current trends inspire our fashion designers to create new characters, illustrations, prints, patterns and color palettes. They also take a closer look at different fabrics and sewing details.
We invited children in the age groups ranging from kindergarten to teenagers to our co-creation workshops. During these workshops, we gathered feedback on our first designs and let them work on their own ideal school bag. Like this, we learn what is trending.
Survey

The children choose via custom made online survey

In the next stage we ask a large group of children to review our designs in a custom made online survey tool. By scoring different designs and adding comments on why they do or don't like a design, the favorite designs come forward.
Ready for production

Optimizing the functionalities of all different models

Handy zippers, additional pockets, attractive labels, durable velcro, reflective piping for safety and a rain cover for common Belgian weather conditions.
The result
Working with children gave us the fresh perspective that allowed us to set up an inspiring range of products.
"I prefer story-doing over storytelling. No fairytales but real stories, made by children."

Sofie Priels

Brand Manager

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Reinventing the drinking bottle

Challenge

A modern and appealing drinking bottle that is fun to use

Kambukka hired us to develop trendy drinking solutions for people on the go that suit every occasion. By combining aesthetics with smart functionality, we helped them to realize a broad range of drinkware that fits everybody’s lifestyle and personality.
Approach

Together we stand stronger

To meet the needs of different kinds of consumers all around the world our product designers, branding experts and innovation consults had to work in close collaboration with the Kambukka management. Achilles Design accompanied the client in the whole process, from early sketches to industrial production.
Concept

A smart range of thermal and water bottles

We like to introduce you to Etna, Olympus, Elton, Lagoon and Reno. All of them fully leakproof, available in fashionable colors and providing a smooth drinking experience thanks to the patent pending product features.
Innovations

A lid for any occasion

Do you like your drinks icy cold on a hot summer day? Just combine a thermal mug with the lid of a water bottle. You can mix and match all bottles and lids to customize a perfect drinking experience.

Snapclean®

Snapclean® makes them very easy to clean. Just pinch and pull to remove the inner mechanism and prepare the lid for a thorough dishwasher cleaning.

3-in-1 lid

Slowly waking up behind your desk with your morning cup of coffee in hand is a different kind of setting than hastily knocking back an espresso on your way to your next meeting. That’s exactly why the 3-in-1 lid has multiple positions: 'push to drink', 'always open' and 'locked'.
The result
Don't think, just drink! At first, Kambukka launched its products in Europe, but later also in China, Canada, Russia and Australia. Effectively, Kambukka pushes the boundaries in an ever-growing market of reusable drinking bottles.
Starting with a rough concept of many loose ideas, we succeeded, together with Achilles, in not only omitting the superfluous, but also in making many difficult decisions. Slowly but surely Kambukka became a real brand with its own typical design language.

Sabrina Ruzzi

Marketing Manager Kambukka
There are too many products of inferior quality. We do not only work with high-quality materials, but pay attention to finish and ease of use.

Stijn Lowette

CEO Kambukka

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An award winning family

Challenge
“Plug & Play” devices are hardly ever as simple to use as we think they should be. Dymo wanted to bring some truth back to this often touted feature and they chose Achilles to help them on their way. It was up to us to give their new Label Manager PNP a fresh new design, along with the Label Manager LM420P, LM160 and LM500TS.
In this project, the Achilles designers used their product design, engineering and styling skills to create the LabelManager product family. Functionality, ergonomics, technology and aesthetics go hand in hand in these award-winning designs.
Common Design Language

Good designs don’t fall out of the sky. They are built on strong brand foundation.

Everyone can see that the Dymo LabelManagers are all part of the same family. That's not a coincidence. Every Dymo device is designed with their common design language in mind, which we have systematically documented. In this document, the core values are defined that describe the brand foundation, the actual 'DNA' of the company.  

Guidelines that help designers

These brand values are translated in useful design guidelines about styling, CMF (Color, Material & Finish) but also about user interaction, ergonomics, etc. to define what makes a true Dymo product. Basically, they help the designers to make the right choices in function of the brand, through the entire design process.
Product architecture

Size matters. On your desk and in your hands.

For a professional desktop device, it is important that the footprint is kept as small as possible. For handheld devices the size of the grip area has a huge impact on the ergonomics and user comfort.  

Designing with real dimensions

Therefore, at first, we did not start drawing flashy sketches, but we developed the right component configuration in 3D. After all, they will define the actual size, grip area etc. and in the end, the usability of your product. Once we had that figured out, the actual shaping could start. We needed to find something intriguing and playful without going crazy.
Engineering

Make styling proposals that actually work.

Achilles was mainly responsible for the styling, but we also took care of the phase 1 engineering, in order to make sure that everything was feasible and producible. After all, a fun shape isn’t any fun if it can’t be made.
The result
The result is a family of products with strong, iconic shapes and details. Clearly related, but each with its own personality. A set of desktop companions that are ready and willing to print out all the labels you need.

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Speed and quality in a league of its own

Challenge

Blending usability with performance

Xeikon developed a new digital label press that packs speed, versatility and quality like no other. Its top speed of 30 m/min makes the Xeikon CX3 the most productive 5-colour digital label press in its class. It is therefore, to some extent, a class of its own. This machine needed a top-class casing that reflects the state-of-the-art inside. That’s where Achilles came into the picture.
Achilles designed the casing and supporting frame of these machines. Through user-centered design, we gathered valuable insights to optimize the installation and workflow. We created a new look-and-feel that matches with the overall Xeikon style and engineered the casing and frame for mass production.
User-centered design

Changing the architecture of a device can save you installation time (and money).

By designing a completely new frame and rethinking the installation scenario (with some sophisticated engineering) we substantially simplified the setup, requiring less fine-tuning in the field. Setting up the frame and casing can now be done almost twice as fast!
User-centered design

Integrated interface taken to the next level!

Operators don’t sit at their desk all day. They walk around the production hall, performing numerous tasks. Therefore, we embedded the most crucial feedback elements (machine status and toner status) in the design so they are visible through the entire production hall.
Styling

A symbolic representation of the printing process.

The characteristic color break on the Xeikon machines is more than cosmetic. The light grey color resembles unprinted paper, where the red color resembles toner/ink. So when you look at the machine, you actually "see" the color being applied to the medium.

Clearly a member of the family.

Over the years we have helped Xeikon to create many breakthrough innovations. We’ve created machines that each have a strong personality but share a style that is unique in the market. Of course we were very proud to once again be their preferred partner in the development and design of this revolutionary machine.
 
Engieering

God is in the details, even on the inside.

Beautiful designs can only shine if the finishing is impeccable. That’s why we developed the sheet metal casings up to the very last detail. It is the best way to make the initial design intend come true, without compromises and continue the style everywhere even on the inside of the doors.
The result
The Xeikon CX500 is a new landmark in the digital printing industry. It’s a machine that company owners like to show off and operators love to work with!

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