Designing for Longevity
The prevalent economic model of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) is linear: extracted raw materials are made into highly disposable products that are sold, used, and discarded as trash. Around 80% of the materials used for FMCGs end up in landfills, incinerators, or wastewater. This linear model has put a massive strain on our natural resources and generates large quantities of waste.
In the early stages of the project, I was thinking about how to deconstruct the current packaging of deodorant. This then led to a rapid prototyping session, where multiple paper prototypes were created. The designs were used to create the initial product concepts and to explore basic functionality. These helped inform the final design.
Meeting User Needs
The focus of our user testing was on how users perceive and interact with various deodorants— both case packaging and solid-stick inserts. With my team, I conducted a survey with approximately 200 respondents. This helped us gather information on demographics and deodorant purchasing habits. Heat tests helped to determine the different melting points of deodorant. Durability tests were conducted to determine how the deodorant would sustain harsh transportation conditions with minimal packaging. Below is a table of the key insights gathered:
|Users are not environmentally aware||ØMO is a simple and elegant product that minimizes a consumer's carbon footprint without affecting their purchasing preferences.|
|Users dislike touching the deodorant insert||The inner stand height was increased so that the users could comfortably handle the deodorant without touching it.|
|Users prefer opulent casings||The final deodorant design is sleek, customizable and exemplifies high end deodorant products on the market.|
|Users value ergonomics||The mechanics of ØMO take into consideration both male and female hand widths, heights and finger dexterity.|
|Users associate casing with gender||By not conforming to traditional deodorant case forms, ØMO appeals to all genders.|
User Testing Participant
Meeting Environmental Needs
ØMO uses 3D printed aluminum for the outer casing. The aluminum makes the case lighter than most metals and stronger than plastic. It is an elegant, durable material that is dishwasher safe and recyclable making it great for reuse. The base of the ØMO deodorant insert is comprised of 3D-printed PLA (polylactic acid) plastic. Unlike regular plastics which are commonly made from petroleum and coal, PLA is a biodegradable plastic made from non-toxic and renewable raw materials such as cornstarch or sugarcane. PLA requires two thirds less energy to produce than traditional plastic and does not increase net CO2 gas when it biodegrades within 3-6 months (in a composting system). All branded covers for the individually-packaged solid stick inserts is sourced from recycled paper.
Deodorant vs Gender
There seemed to be very strong associations with exterior deodorant casings and gender. With much research, ØMO is designed to challenge traditional gender stereotypes by appealing to both men and women.
"Inherent biases, because I live in a gendered society, I would say (choosing the preference of these ones (touches the two to SpeedStick deodorant shapes), because they are more masculine and they are more built, but the one that I found the most comfortable to use would be this one here (picks up the round Dove deodorant shape)...the shape of the hand works a lot better on one of these."
New Functionality with Old Familiarity
Consumers are still able to purchase their favourite brands, scents and preferred deodorant casing. ØMO will be displayed and sold in the personal hygiene aisle of retail stores throughout North America. By purchasing one initial case at a higher premium, the price of inserts will be significantly reduced. Saving the consumer money over time, and manufacturers.
ØMO highlights the potential for immediate adoption of a sustainable deodorant solution in the contemporary product landscape. ØMO not only hopes to tackle the issue of longevity in deodorants' product lifecycle, but also intends to encourage consumers to demand waste-free solutions from major producers of FMCGs.