The North Face two-way radio set concept

The North Face Kenai RS 1.0 is the concept design of two-way radio set that invented for outdoor and expedition activities. The product has a usual radio sets experience with some new feautures like LED screen that located above speaker. It is not visible when it off and it seems that speaker is stretching to the very top. The frequency is changed by means of three additional buttons and a universal regulator on the top. Kenai RS 1.0 is IP67-protected, but there is the possibility of rapid battery replacement due to the advanced cover mechanism. The radio looks great without a clip, but if necessary the metal plate can be easily replaced with a clip.



“Two-Way Radio Set!”.
What appeared in front of your eyes when you read this? Something black in a brick form, with an antenna, controllers and a lot of buttons?
Not surprising.
Radio sets are represented as serious professional devices for workers in industrial and manufacturing enterprises. Nowadays, more people use radio sets for any activity: sports, tourism and just walking outside the city.
We are used to perceiving radio sets as a black brick with an antenna, but what if they look different? Not radically new, with the established user experience, but nevertheless differently. We wish for a radio set not only because it is necessary, but also because it looks good. Of course, without sacrificing reliability and its critical characteristics.
That is the issue that we wanted to upgrade significantly and came up with an attractive radio set with universal characteristics for different activities like — active recreation, sports, expeditions and professional needs. A radio set for people, who want to have not just a communication device, but an amazing communication device!


First we started with search and analysis of analogues for understand the market of two-way radio sets and their characteristics. We “poked” and felt some Yeasu, Motorola and Kenwood radio-sets for understand their ergonimics, materials, design and etc.
It’s just so boring to think of a noname radio set. We wanted to “associate” it with some brand.
Market mastodons —Motorola and Kenwood were immediately thrown aside. These highly respected companies have a long history of radio set developing.
We needed something fresh, a company that did not produce anything like that, but at the same time, the one that could bring it to life. We started to consider companies that produce products for such needs. Companies with a strong reputation, even among people who are not particularly interested in its positioning, but nevertheless respect it as a brand. The choice became obvious — The North Face (Actually no, we thought about Patagonia, Jack Wolfskin and Burton, but we liked the positioning and character of The North Face more).
The North Face is an American company that produces clothing and equipment for people who interestedin trekking, mountaineering, skiing, tourism and just people who are active.
We hit the bull’s-eye!
We studied different products of The North Face and understood the spirit and DNA of company style. We selected some branded parts and carefully adapt them to the radio set.
And, finally, we came up withamazing, not boring, with excellent characteristics and features, and in thecorporate style of The North Face – respected by many people… Kenai RS 1.0.
What defines it as a The North Face radio station?
Positioning, features, colors and general restraint of shapes, lines and bends. The faceted PTT button, which pattern is used for pulling jackets and backpacks. All this moments create the recognizable style of The North Face company.

About the name.
In addition to the TheNorth Face character and style research, we explored the logic of inventing the names of its products. And based on this we decided to call our radio set like:
Kenai is a peninsula insouth-central Alaska with beautiful nature. Also it is the river, lake, mountains and Kenai Fjords National Park. So, the radio set was named afterseveral objects in Alaska, which symbolize it as a true companion wherever you are.
RS — nothing surprising — “Radio set”
1.0 — as the first The North Face radio set.






The concept was perceived positively. “It looks like really as The North Face product” people said.
We find out that there are nothing radio-sets with nice appearance and all products have the same interaction ways. There are nothing radio sets especially for people who like outdoor activity and want to use a pretty cool device.

We revisited radio-sets exterior with preservation of well-established user experience

Albert Degin

Indsutrial designer. Born in the North, live in Siberia. Dreaming about ideal clear design. Trying to be better in product design way.