Think of design as a symphony going through warm ups, starting with a cacophony of different sounds and gradually converging on a single tuning note. The more instruments you start with, the sweeter the final sound becomes. We’ve always tried to include as many voices in our design process as possible so that our end result would resonate deeply with many different people.

We decided to work with a well-known product design company last year to help us refine our huge chorus of ideas and generate a few new ones too. It’s been a fascinating process so far and we’d like to give you a peek behind the curtain.

We kicked off the engagement by distilling the most important aspects of the cooler and launching another round of crazy brainstorms with the big picture goals in mind. This seems to be everyone’s favorite part in the process, whether you’re a fisherman sketching ideas in the Philippines or an industrial designer sketching ideas in San Francisco.

The team then organized things into eight general concepts, some of which built directly on our existing prototypes and others that we’d never dreamed of. Instead of circling our personal favorites and moving on, we consulted widely with advisors, friends, and customers to discern patterns and spur other ideas.

Before settling on the Nutshell design, we explored a wide range of form factors.

The next round of work brought our top three concepts into higher resolution with mockups, material tests, and manufacturer consults. We’ve always found that scale is a particularly important factor to introduce early-on because designs that seem promising in miniature can become unwieldy as a full-size cooler.


Another round of consultation and idea generation was next, this time with international manufacturers and industrial engineers involved to provide expertise and new perspectives.

Now that we’ve done the painful work of choosing a final design direction, it’s time for a third (tenth?) round of brainstorming and refinement, this time with very specific material, performance, and construction constraints in mind. Our final samples are in the works.

It’s been a joy to engage a team that’s designed dozens of great products and redefined entire categories with their prior work. We’re super proud of the results to date and sure that you will love these coolers (almost) as much as we do. The partnership has added some wonderful instruments to the Nutshell symphony. And now we're turning to you for help on the final phases of the design process, so head over to our pre-launch survey and share your feedback with us!