Campus: San Francisco State University -- April 30, 2004
Just Wear It: Students Design Eyewear For Nike
When Olivier Bock enrolled in a seminar level Design and Industry class last
fall, he was prepared for a challenge, but what he didn't know was that he was
about to have an eye-opening experience.
In a first-ever partnership between SF State and sportswear giant Nike, Bock and
his 22 classmates were given a chance to design cutting-edge eyewear for the
company, under the direction of Rob Bruce, the design director of Nike's Vision
The primary goal of the project was to expose students to a high level of
professional design with a big-league company in order to understand the
industry's expectations. The students were divided into teams of three, and each
team was required to design and develop a pair of prototype glasses as well as a
marketing package for the performance sports eyewear.
In February, the students, accompanied by Assistant Professor Martin Linder,
presented their prototypes to a panel of designers at Nike's headquarters in
"It was very motivating to work with such an internationally recognized company.
Not only was it exciting, but there was a level of professionalism and expertise
that we had to meet," student Jane Rabanal said.
Rabanal's team designed eco-friendly eyewear for women by incorporating recycled
and recyclable materials for their sunglasses and packaging.
Nike provided not only technical expertise, but also supplied the students with
150 "blank" lenses, 30 finished eyewear products, digital files of a 3-D model
of a human head and ergonomic body measurements. Dimension, a manufacturer of
3-D printing equipment, also offered to produce three of the team's prototype
models for free, each valued at $300.
"Eyewear is a very difficult product design challenge, something that has a lot
of ergonomic constraints, in terms of material and user demands," Linder says.
"It's something you put on your face, so there are aesthetic demands, functional
and comfort issues. Next to medical equipment, it is one of the most difficult
pieces of product you can possibly design."
"Throughout the semester, we really had to think hard about the different
considerations of fit and comfort, performance and safety, materials,
fabrication, etc. It was big," said Bock.
Bock's team designed eyewear for cycling, incorporating aerodynamic concerns
into their designs, creating glasses that were lightweight, sweat resistant
and reduced fogging.
Last fall, at an on campus presentation, the teams showcased an array of
innovative and ingenious designs that included sunglasses that could seamlessly
change from clear lens to shaded lens -- successfully combining style,
performance, protection, customization and environmental concerns in their
"It is remarkable what the students have come up with considering the lack of
experience and limited amount of time," said Linder, beaming with pride. "There
are at least six students who have the potential to work with Nike. They have
the talent and the personality to be successful in an environment like that."
The partnership, secured last April, also included a $10,000 donation from Nike
to SF State, which will be used to purchase equipment for the Design and Industry
Although Nike has yet to make concrete plans to manufacture the students'
designs, Bruce has asked to keep the presentation materials and prototypes
to be reviewed in greater depth. Many of the students are happy to have come
"It was definitely a great experience. I was very excited to finally have the
culmination of all our hard work presented to Nike with the hopes that perhaps
our own designs may translate into a real consumer product one day," Rabanal