Experience design project: creating the Porsche Cycling sub-brand and physical experience center
My role | User Research, Market Research, Experience Design
In this semester-long project, my group was tasked with developing a cycling sub-brand for Porsche and designing the bike and environment in which the bike is sold. After conducting research collaboratively, I contributed to the experience design team. Czarnowski, a renowned experience design agency, sponsored this project and provided guidance.
I worked closely with a team of six other design students. My roles included conducting market and user research, developing the sub-brand, and creating the user experience, and designing the physical experience center.
The team | Industrial design classmates: Joel Fleming, Sarah Haymans, Rachel Hu, Daniel Nixon, Joseph Nixon, Caleb Platt
Timeline | January 2020 - May 2020
Software/programs used | Fusion 360, SolidWorks, KeyShot 8, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop
We started by working to understand the needs and practices of the modern cyclist. In order to do so, we leveraged multiple research methods including ethnographic interviews with individuals who rode a bicycle as their primary form of transportation, observation, surveys, and second-hand research.
Using data from the interviews, we mindmapped the concept of a "commute" (shown below) and began brainstorming potential insights about the commute journey.
Questions that guided our research were: How does the modern cyclist interact with cars in the road? What does the daily commute look like for them? For other commuters?
Using the insights gained above, we defined project parameters.
UNDERSTANDING THE PARENT BRAND
The cycling sub-brand we were to create would fall under Porsche's umbrella of brands. We set out to understand who Porsche was as a brand and what principles Porsche embodied.
Questions that guided our research were:
Who are Porsche's customers?
What is the brand beyond the car?
To what extent are Porsche customers loyal to the brand? Why are they loyal?
What elements need to be carried over from Porsche to the sub-brand, and what can be modified?
These questions were answered through: a visit to the Porsche Experience Center, one-on-one conversations with Porsche loyalists, analysis of Porsche's media, conversations with Porsche representatives.
We them mapped our findings to uncover insights about Porsche's perception of themselves as well as their concept of ownership.
From the research, we identified four main traits that Porsche embodies. These four traits served as the foundation for the sub-brand.
DEVELOPING THE SUB-BRAND
Growing beyond the parent company, Porsche, we established a unique voice for the sub-brand of Porsche cycling. After defining where exactly Porsche itself begins and ends, we laid down the foundation for a new brand.
After studying other sub-brands of Porsche, we named the brand "Porsche Cycling" to follow the parent company's naming straightforward convention, as exhibited by Porsche Design.
After identifying key characteristics that would be carried over from the Porsche brand, a visual brand language (VBL) was developed for Porsche Cycling.
Porsche prides itself on tradition and excellence. Porsche Cycling pushes the limits further by incorporating more striking geometries while still remaining modest.
The VBL below is the foundation on which we based every design decision.
We wanted the sub-brand to appeal to both Porsche affiliates (existing Porsche customers) and non-affiliates alike with this new sub-brand, with the goal that each group would soon consider themselves an affiliate of the Porsche Cycling brand after interacting with the brand.
The personas to the left outline the two types of customers that may interact with the sub-brand.
PORSCHE CENTURY BICYCLE
While I did not work directly on the bicycle design, I worked on the experience team in tandem to make sure our design choices were aligned with one another. We carried the same signature elements and branding throughout both project deliverables.
Below is the Porsche Century bicycle paired with some promotional content for the Porsche Cycling.
The cheeky, playful, and confident personality of Porsche is carried through the Cycling brand, while the sharp angles and straight edges of the bicycle differentiate it from Porsche's timeless curves.
DESIGNING THE EXPERIENCE
Prior to designing the building itself, the Experience Design team and I outlined the ideal experiences that Porsche affiliates and non-affiliates would have while visiting the center. A key element in the project brief was to explore new models of ownership for light individual transport (LIT), which includes bicycles and scooters.
After this exploration, ideal customer journeys were created and these were the foundation that the physical building was built on.
The journey map to the right outlines the transformation of both an existing Porsche affiliate and non-affiliate to the owner of a Century bicycle.
In designing the Experience Center, it was key to include elements that kept the customers returning so that they could develop a relationship with the brand.
Inspired by car companies' "rent-to-own" model, the "trial bicycle" model we adopted focuses on developing a customer-brand relationship.
There are four key stages in the process, starting with intrigue in the new brand ending with loyalty, which many existing Porsche customers have for the car brand.
PORSCHE CYCLING CENTER
Below is the final prototype of the Porsche Cycling Center, a three-story building that includes a bicycle space, consultation area, and a rooftop lounge. The building inherited the angled, slanted architecture of Porsche exhibitions and has glass walls to invite non-affiliates in by intrigue.
This project had multiple challenges, including COVID. Working on a highly collaborative team, halfway through we abruptly had to switch to working virtually due to the pandemic. Despite the hurdles, we adjusted and spent many long hours on Zoom to put forth a deliverable we were proud of.
If I had more time to continue this project, I would begin developing mobile and web assets for Porsche Cycling. What could the website for Porsche Cycling look like? Would there be any capability to connect the bicycle to a mobile interface? What would the design system be for those?