Travel Fan

Marks & Spencer

The Challenge

As part of an ongoing support agreement with Marks and Spencer, Smallfry identified an opportunity to create a distinct own-brand version of a simple handheld fan. While plenty of low cost competitive options were widely available, Smallfry’s insights process generated a unique version, specific to M&S. The final design was protected by a registered design process, which proved invaluable later on, enabling them to legally protect what went on to be a multi-million pound product line.

Design sketches for M&S fan
M&S fan design storyboard

Our Adaptive Process

The success of the design lay in the combination of unique functionality and high quality CAD surface modelling techniques. Commonly applied in automotive design but less often found in high volume consumer goods. People generally don’t know why they prefer one shape over another but they are drawn to the more refined versions.

Concept Development

From the initial intent through to realisation the selected concept was nurtured throughout the engineering development phases to confirm the ergonomics, functionality and fit of all components. At Smallfry design for optimised manufacturing is considered throughout.  To ensure everyone had a clear understanding of the concept, detailed 3D renders were used alongside ‘Looks like’ physical models to present at the M&S category range reviews.

M&S fan in CAD
Foam model of M&S Fan design

In House Prototyping

Smallfry’s in house 3D printer and model making facilities allow for the production of multiple high quality evaluation and appearance models at a competitive price, quickly and in complete secrecy.

Key Features

With a creative hinging mechanism, the fan is self-supporting when placed on a desk with an adjustable head to direct airflow, setting the fan apart from its immobile competitors whilst still being a slim, compact ‘pocket friendly’ design. It flew off the shelves recovering its entire non-recurring cost investments within the first 12 days sales!

M&S Fan prototype