Creating any new product is a long process, from the original idea to research and development, testing it out and then getting it to market. But making something that’s different from anything that’s gone before can be even harder.

In this article, we reveal the background to techair’s market-leading EVO range and what went into creating it, with insight from techair’s head of design, John, and all the need-to-know information on what makes the EVO range of laptop bags and sleeves so different.

What is techair’s EVO range and what makes it different from other laptop bags?

The EVO range is an innovative new way of transporting laptops in a variety of formats. The main point of difference on the EVO bags and backpack is a range of modular pockets that attach with hidden magnets and can be used to reconfigure any bag depending on what’s in store that day.

The range includes a briefcase, backpack, messenger bag and various sizes of sleeve. Unlike many bags out there in the market, it comes in a light grey that is both stylish and understated, while its contrasting faux-fur lining protects what’s inside.

The handy zip-up pockets provide somewhere to store cables, accessories and anything else, and while they are easily removable due to their hidden magnetic fixings, there are also security clips to make sure nothing can be removed without the owner knowing.

What was the inspiration for techair’s EVO range?

Like any innovative product, the inspiration for techair’s EVO range had a range of sources, says techair head of design John. “My approach often comes from things that already interest me and can be adapted for different uses. For me the foundations of being excited to design something like The EVO range goes right back to loving Lego and Transformers as a child. I love things that are adaptable and can be transformed for multiple uses – which is what EVO is.”

The idea behind EVO comes from a two-in-one laptop case where an organiser or accessory pocket could be removed. “The challenge was to provide that kind of adaptable functionality without any extra components or technical parts, which would be easy to manufacture and sell at a workable cost.”

Taking that idea, John looked at previous techair products as well as other products from elsewhere in the carry industry for inspiration. His research also came at the same time there was a rise in the use of magnets in soft goods.

“I wasn’t necessarily inspired by other bags using magnets, because they didn’t exist, but I did look at how magnets were being used in soft goods to make a case for why we should use these in the EVO range. So when you ask for the inspiration for EVO, it comes from a range of times and places from childhood right up to what was going on in the sector at the time, other product experiences, and this general idea of adaptability.

“All that inspired the functionality, but the shape and form was linked to the kind of design I was moving towards personally, which were boxy, clean silhouettes. Inspired by some of the techniques I’d seen on high end luggage brands, but mining that with technical fabrics and our specific use requirements. Shapes that look good in any environment.”

How long did it take to design techair’s Evo range?

Like any design process, the development of the concept itself for the Evo range took months, from research and sampling to discussions with manufacturers, as well as testing, identifying any weaknesses, adapting to strengthen those and more.

“It’s a lot of back and forward,” says John. “We were learning about the science of magnets, and then we were teaching the supplier about magnets so they could better inform their search for our requests.

“Everything we develop is in partnership with a manufacturer so we need them to be fully on board with what our thinking is with a product. We need to know the strength of those magnets, their functionality, how that will impact the manufacturing of them.”

Additionally, finding the right fabric took time. “We wanted to move away from plain black. We found a textured fabric look we liked, but it needed the right weight, strength, durability and finish.  We got there, and development may have been a year in total – maybe more.”

With a long-term process that saw the product range move from its initial inspiration to a fully-fledged laptop bag, it’s somewhat apt that it’s named EVO – short for evolution.

EVO range challenges and solutions

As with any product, creating the EVO range included addressing various challenges, says John. They included magnet strength as well as finding the right product. But the main challenge was addressing user expectation, he says.

“When you create a bag with removable pockets the alarm bells for anyone is theft of those pockets. We needed to build something that didn’t just work, but also provided reassurance to the consumer that it was secure, with hidden security fastenings.”

Overcoming challenges like that not only involves thinking outside the box, says John, but carrying out rigorous testing – right up to taking the bag on a bike himself and making sure the pockets wouldn’t come off.

What is your favorite product in the EVO range?

In line with the original aims of the range, each EVO product is designed to work for whatever the user needs. But that doesn’t mean John doesn’t have his favourite when it comes to actually creating them.

For him, the shoulder bag and its 12 different configurations is a winner. “It’s not only a laptop section with removable pockets. It can be configured a dozen different ways depending on the scenario you face that day. The backpack is the one I carried for a long time as my daily bag but the shoulder bag was probably more fun to do because it just did more things.”