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Simon Yan
December 23, 2018
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With the success of the TYPO keyboard for iPad Air and IPad Mini. Bluemap Design’s product design team creates the TYPO Slim an ultra-thin wireless keyboard. Made of CNC machined aluminum with a super matte anodized black finish. It is feather light and less than 5mm thick. A perfect on the go keyboard that is stylish and functional.

We want to make the keyboard look as thin as possible. However, the keyboard mechanical components required a fix height dimension to work correctly, and we cannot change that. So we made a tapper form toward the front to be a wedge-like shape. The block contains the mechanical components intersect the wedge shape creates a contrasting form. We choose to CNC the keyboard housing out of high-grade aluminum to achieve a thin wall section while maintaining the structural integrity requirement. The aluminum is anodized with a super matte black finish. The idea is to minimize the reflection that distracts your eyes. It looks cool at the same time.

We use a combination of software such as Solidworks, Keyshot and Adobe CC. We always start the project with research to understand the market and competitive products. It establishes design criteria and guidelines to evaluate the concepts. After that, we begin the creative work with sketches. We took the most promising sketch ideas into 3D CAD and create renderings and rapid prototypes for client presentation. We refine the selected concept, make more prototypes, then finalized the CAD with all the internal mechanical features. The final CAD, CMF, and documentation are later released to the manufacturer for production.

The respond for the project has been overwhelmingly positive. We learn a lot about how to push the limit of aluminum and CNC machining. It was challenging to make a product that thin. The key is to juggle the balance of creating something ultra-thin while maintaining structural integrity.

Simon Yan

Simon Yan is the founder of Bluemap Design, a New York-based design studio specializing in product and packaging design. Born in Hong Kong, Yan is hugely influenced by the way things are constructed. His interest in art and design gave him the idea that products are design objects that are part of a lifestyle. Initially interested in graphic design, he soon realized that he was far more excited by 3D forms and how people interact with them. He major in industrial design at Pratt Institute. After graduating from Pratt with a degree in industrial design he found himself working with several top-ranked design studios before starting his own practice in 2001. Yan is meticulous to design. Every detail is thought about. His design is geared to the way people move, walk, and pick up objects, all to be used, as advertised, without thinking.

Yan’s clients include 3M, Acco Brands, Allergan, RING, J&J, PepsiCo, Nestle, Bissell Homecare, Bristol Myers Squibb, Kodak, SC Johnson, Show Media, TYPO Innovations and VeriFone Media.

Yan’s work has received many design awards, including iF Design Award, Red Dot Award, IDEA Award, G-Mark Good Design Award Japan, Spark Design Award, K-Design Award, Good Design Award, CES Best of Innovations Award, Business Week Best Products, CES Design and Engineering Award and ID magazine ADR Award, Business Week Best Products Award, CNET "Next Big Thing" Award, CES Design and Engineering Award, CHIP Award for Innovations in Digital Photography, Germany, PC World Innovation Award, Business 2.0 Magazine Bottom Line Design Award, CES Editor’s Choice Award. Published recognition has been included in ID Magazine, Innovation, Business Week, Time Magazine, GQ, Vanity Fair, House Beautiful, T3, Stuff, Design 360, Designing for Humanity, and International Design Yearbook 15, ON/OFF, and Graphis.

Yan’s work has been exhibited at the JIDA Design Museum, Japan, Red Dot Design Museum, Singapore, Biennial of Industrial Design (BIO) in Ljubljana, Slovenia, The Chicago Athenaeum, Museum of Architecture and Design (Good Design Show), Denver Art Museum (US Design 1975-2000), the Cooper-Hewitt Museum (Design Culture Now, Triennial Design Show), Moss (ID Magazine, 44th Annual Design Review Exhibition). and Schafler Gallery (“Corvettes to Cuisinart” Six Decades of Diversity in Industrial Design)

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