Every wallet should solve a money carrying problem and every good design solves a problem in an efficient and functional way. Today I am checking in with y’all as I continue with my desire to keep imagining a smaller, simpler wallet. A wallet that is so small it will slide into your front pocket and you wont even notice it. No bulge, no real weight. I find that I often head down to the saloons down near the beach and I’d rather only carry a credit card, license, and maybe a little cash. No need for anything fancy there – just something secure and a little bigger than the contents it’ll hold. It’s always a good idea to do a bit of research and see what already exists as a solution. After all – there’s no need to reinvent the wheel – and you certainly don’t want to spend hours creating a new idea only to find that it’s been done already. I usually grab my sketch pad where I roughly draw every idea that comes to mind. I don’t hold anything back here, just let it all loose. If you try and restrict your ideas based on whether or not you think they will work or not – you will lose out on some of that creative spark. A lot of my end results are typically a combination of some of the crazy ideas with a few of the more practical ones. Below, in the initial phase I edged more towards…crazy.
In the initial prototype I wanted something that had a little zing to it. I chose to expose the contents of the wallet for looks only to realize that, in reality, this is extremely impractical. All of the contents can easily slip out, there is just too much room. Since this was my first favorite in the sketchbook, I decided to stick with it, but modify it a bit.
After sketching out a few modifications, I decided to try a smaller exposure, but as you can see above – it doesn’t do much visually. The card is only barely peeking out, so there really isn’t much purpose for the exposed corner.
I then decided to close things up and be very practical. I also wasn’t sure if both Men and Women would go for an exposed corner, so I scrapped that idea altogether. In the third phase of prototyping I also realized there was an opportunity on the backside to place an easy access slot. This way you can get your most used card or two just by thumbing it out. I think it also added to balance the front out with the back by adding an angle into the otherwise rectangular shape. The wallet was still having a few minor problems though – if you look at the flap on the front it doesn’t quite bend correctly. There wasn’t enough room for the flap to fold over itself. Also – on the back, the card slot was encroaching a bit too much into the flap.
The final design came after a few more rounds of moving things around by a couple millimeters. Above is the final shape in Western Brown.
The Simple Snap Wallet with fit around 6 cards and a little cash – or even more if you give it time to stretch. The cards fit snugly and the low placement of the top rivet allows for your fingers to easily pull them out.
The slot in the back was narrowed quite a bit to keep a tight grip on the credit cards.
These guys are available in Sun Tanned Natural, Western Brown, and Desert Night Dark. I have been using mine every weekend. The entire process of designing a wallet, from concept, to sketch, to prototyping, to final model can take several weeks. After the final version is ready I then test it for a while to make sure it is indeed a practical and useful idea. If it passes my tests…it’s in the shop.