Case study on intensive design collaboration with Rejoin / Mastin Medical, a newly established Chinese sports medicine start-up specializing in arthroscopic instruments for surgery.
Within three years, our Shanghai team worked with Chinese start-up Mastin/ REJOIN to create a completely new and bold presence in the disposable surgical instruments market for sports medicine.
The angular design language in the magenta-coloured translucent design is primarily the result of ergonomic studies and manufacturing optimization with regard to injection moulding technology. This makes it possible to create an optimum grip, which at the same time results in lightweight instruments, material savings and thus cost reductions included.
Develop a global sports medicine brand
In order to couple a high-value appeal with the recognizability of the REJOIN brand, we created a design guideline (called CIDM - Corporate Industrial Design Manual) in parallel with the product development, which makes it easy to transfer the design features to new instrument types, thus ensuring a high degree of uniformity in the brand appearance.
Rejoin first needed strong guidelines that gave them enough visibility to establish themselves in an increasingly competitive market. To learn more about the initial situation, read Part 1 of "The Future is Non-Invasive," an exclusive 3-part article detailing the background and why Rejoin was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of a booming sports medicine market in China.
Priority #1: Clear brand strategy
With a concise appearance right from the start
During initial discussions about the Rejoin brand, WILDDESIGN formulated Rejoin's future market position as a dynamic, sports-oriented medical brand that would stand out among a variety of corporate, clinical or traditional medical companies. To validate this assumption with Rejoin's development team, we created what we called affinity maps to visualize Rejoin's future position against local and global competitors. Derived from this initial snapshot, it quickly became clear that colour and shape would be our drivers for the design.
After Rejoin's okay to this roadmap, it was then our task to develop and implement an industrial design language from which on the one hand highly functional and on the other hand impressively aesthetic arthroscopic tools for surgeons and hospital staff could be derived. Our most important task, however, remained to meet, or better yet exceed, the usability and ergonomic requirements of surgeons and hospital staff.
Priority #2: Good usability - the fundamental design principle
After participating in various user workshops, seminars and so-called product walk-throughs with surgeons to truly understand each instrument holistically, the WILDDESIGN team focused on the priority usability issues in the palms and fingertips of surgeons.
Rapid prototyping in rapid iterations was used to develop and test different form factors, resulting in a unique grip concept: a grip with a rounded, tapered pentagonal cross-section that fits and feels ideal in the surgeon's hand. Further 3D printing with additional hand modelling simulated the final surface texture and enabled realistic testing with latex gloves.
Further prototyping and testing
Further detailing was achieved through ribbing trials, which helped reduce raw material consumption while increasing tactility. This finally created the breakthrough to a unique product language even though it was still a hard slog for the designers until the whole could be neatly de-moulded from the injection mould as an integral part. Through dozens of foam and 3D-printed prototypes, the extent and position of each breakthrough were defined, with the final shape adjusted to meet both design and engineering requirements. Our "rib formula" for quickly deriving additional grips was also formulated and included in the Design Guideline document to both designs a comfortable and lightweight instrument for the surgeon's hand and reduce material costs for the supplier.
Meaning behind CMF decisions
Given the immense glut of traditional products on the market, the design team was confident from the start that they could make colour an integral part of the design direction. All that was missing was one final touch - translucency. Read Part 2 of our blog article for a deeper look into this part of WILDDESIGN's design process for Rejoin.
Multiple refractions of light add depth, saturation and visual appeal to the handle, while the visible internal structures of the mounted instrument create an understanding of the internal structure that can provide important clues for inserting implants and ultimately performing arthroscopic procedures. For purely aesthetic considerations, a purple translucent tool sitting on a table with a multitude of other opaque tools simply stands out, creating a highly attention-grabbing emblem for this sports medicine field. Working with specialist suppliers of medical plastics, we then began to select the ideal polymers and finishes to bring this concept into production.
Prepared for certification
To ensure that our designs for REJOIN can be smoothly launched into the medical market, the WILDDESIGN team has worked closely with world-class plastics suppliers and with REJOIN's QM team. Because these are Class III medical devices, high-risk products typically intended for implantable or life support systems, the level of testing required to evaluate the products is extremely demanding.
With an understanding of time-to-market and a target approval time of 14 months, the development team tested the polymer in injection moulds to meet CFDA requirements and obtain warranties from third-party suppliers. Ultimately, REJOIN was able to meet its development schedule and achieve all of the planned milestones in its product pipeline. From the executive level came the vision to make the Rejoin brand the market leader and to use a unique design language as a vehicle to do so. We were then allowed to apply this language to all future tools to reinforce the brand values and anchor confidence in global development.
New & improved WILDDESIGN expertise: CIDM
Strengthening the brand beyond local boundaries
To achieve REJOIN's global goal, WILDDESIGN redefined a department from its own toolbox of methods and helped develop a design language that enables coherent, highly functional products that can compete with larger, established companies. These re-optimized methods ultimately lead to a compact result: an easy-to-understand, user-friendly manual describing all product and user experience know-how, both as a guide for future developments and as an internal company point of reference. We call it the Corporate Industrial Design Manual, or CIDM for short. Learn more about our new CIDM service page ...
"Our product design is strong and the design language is unique. We have now acquired the core competencies and confidence in them to navigate our difficult market with great agility."
Mr. Xu, CEO
The CIDM we developed for Rejoin begins with the introduction of brand attributes and values, which then lead to ergonomic requirements and industrial design philosophy. This combination of function and form is then applied and catalogued throughout the manual. Chapters such as form, colour, logo placement, material finish and even specific manufacturing processes are described to achieve the desired design outcome. Methodologically, we ensure that the next development is consistent with both the brand and functional aspects, without negating cost and time factors.
The CIDM enabled REJOIN to create an impressive design presence in the face of major global competition. A synergy between brand and product identity that can be applied throughout the product development process, increasing efficiency within each design phase and enhancing brand coherence in the marketplace. To learn more about the benefits of CIDMs, read Part 3 of " The Future is Non-Invasive."
Next steps: Strong design language foundation
Brand and marketing support
Starting with the design concept up to Rejoin's success in China during the last 3 years, WILDDESIGN shifted the professional support more and more towards branding, marketing and sales. While the first series of instruments is currently being clinically validated, WILDDESIGN has already been entrusted with the next important task: to visualize and present the new instruments in a flagship product brochure. This will be used in meetings with hospital staff and surgeons. The brochure is the beginning of Rejoin's public presence as an ambitious new sports medicine brand, and while we are only at the beginning of this next chapter, the Rejoin look and feel will continue to refine once we understand and implement market and customer feedback.
Rejoin recognized early on the need to get the diversity of all printed and digital communication from a single source. And so WILDDESIGN was allowed to provide further graphic and brand support, in the form of stand designs, packaging and internal company documents.
"For many years we have been connected by the intensive collaboration between Rejoin and our Shanghai team. A clear and distinctive design and brand direction has guided us to this expressive portfolio from the very beginning. And every year we add a few more instruments..."
Your contact person for the project
Shanghai Office Manager
+86 (0)21 5228 firstname.lastname@example.org