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This innovative cooler transforms outdoor enthusiasts into nimble explorers

Ondago by Knack Design Studio and Derrk revitalizes the cooler’s design approach, converting it into an enabler of adventure rather than a limitation

Whether you’re an enthusiastic adventurer or a casual weekend explorer, this breakthrough solution is set to redefine your outdoor experiences. The Ondago cooler, designed by Knack Design Studio in collaboration with Derrk, introduces an entirely novel perspective to the market.

There are innovations so ‘intuitive’ that, at times, one wonders why they didn’t arrive earlier. They fall into that category of actions that we would naturally think of doing, but for some reason, we persist in not pursuing them. This is the range of uses in which Ondago presents itself. And, finally and fortunately for us, someone has thought of it. And designed it. Despite it’s still a concept.

Inspired by their own encounters with traditional coolers, the designers posed a question: “How can we inject new vitality into cooler design, transforming it into a catalyst for adventure rather than a constraint?“. Their quest began with a thorough investigation into the prevalent issues plaguing today’s coolers.

This exploration led them to an untapped realm – the pressing requirement for a cooler that seamlessly navigated diverse terrains, especially sandy surfaces.

Ondago cooler by Knack design studio + derrk
Ondago cooler by Knack Design Studio and Derrk

Collaborating with Derrk, a specialized 3D animation studio, Knack Design Studio transformed the intuition into a visible story using 3D animations.

Enchanted by the concept, I decided to ask the creators of Ondago a few questions, driven by curiosity to know how they had arrived at a solution so ‘simple’ yet fantastic, as evidence that innovations are often the result of a great capacity for observation and listening.

What insights or lingering challenges spurred the creation of the Ondago cooler?

Kelly Custer:

“Last summer, fresh off the beach (and sweaty from exhaustion), it dawned on us that a cooler redesign was long overdue. Adventurous people, like us, enjoy socializing in the great outdoors, but coolers hold us back. The problem is that the coolers available today are heavy, clunky, and a pain to haul.

Fueled by our own exhausting personal experiences with coolers, we drummed up the question: how might we reimagine a cooler to encourage adventure instead of limiting it?

We began by studying the pain points of today’s coolers and discovered an opportunity space that no other coolers on the market could satisfy- being easy to transport in all terrains, especially sand.”

Ondago cooler by Knack Design Studio and Derrk

What is the target audience that it is aimed at?

Kelly Custer:

“Ondago is for the everyday adventurer. People who like to boat, camp, float, beach, and fish to spend time outdoors with friends.”

What sets Ondago apart from conventional coolers in terms of innovation

Kelly Custer:

“The Ondago cooler allows people to roll from one adventure to the next; solo and without breaking a sweat. The large tires surround the entire cooler cavity, making the cooler able to traverse all types of terrain. Oh, and it can also float!”

Ondago cooler by Knack design studio + derrk
Ondago cooler by Knack Design Studio and Derrk

When contemplating the Color, Material, and Finish (CMF) aspect, what was the approach you adopted?

Kelly Custer:

“We wanted Ondago’s look to be as differentiated as its utility so we went bold, fun, and friendly with the CMF. It’s made of regular plastic as well as recycled plastic (coming from the Ocean) and rubber.”

Ondago cooler by Knack design studio + derrk
Ondago cooler by Knack Design Studio and Derrk

Can you envision an extension of the Ondago cooler concept in other domains? If so, which ones?

Kelly Custer:

“The Ondago concept is a targeted solution to the issue of coolers being a pain to haul. So, naturally, we’d look to other existing products that are also a pain to haul. (My mind goes to strollers, wagons, firepits, grills, etc.). However, the differing cargo in each of these products would probably require a drastically different execution for each.

We don’t like to apply an execution or a technology to a product. This feels backwards to us. Instead, we start with understanding the user. What are they trying to accomplish? What pains are they experiencing along the way? THEN we start exploring potential solutions.”

Ondago cooler by Knack design studio + derrk
Ondago cooler by Knack Design Studio and Derrk

Could you share some key points regarding the design process that steered the cooler’s development, from the exploration of its concept to its eventual realization?

Kelly Custer:

“We took inspiration from balloon tires which use their large contact patch to almost effortlessly roll a large amount of weight across sand. With an understanding of our user’s pain points and aspirations, we explored a variety of form factors that would allow the cooler to float and roll over any terrain, but remain compact enough to lift and stow.

Ondago cooler by Knack Design Studio and Derrk

Through an exhaustive ideation exercise, we discovered that could have both the biggest tires, as well as, the most compact cooler by putting the cooler IN the tire. In other words, the tire became the entire circumference of the cooler body.

Once we narrowed in on the best form factor and functionality, our next step was to develop the product’s design to deliver a delightful user experience. This meant refining every touchpoint to be ergonomic and user-friendly.”

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