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Process: Making the Ultimate Bag

Refining the prototypes

Once those changes were made, MEDIUM moved on to create a prototype. Using the CADtools plug-in for Adobe Illustrator CS2 from Hot Door, Horn quickly put together a set of mechanical specifications and emailed them as an Adobe PDF file to the company's factory in Asia.

Bag detail

Every detail counts — even a special hole for head phones.


When the prototype arrived back, Horn immediately saw that changes were needed. The front flap was too plain, and he wasn't happy with some pocket sizes. To make the changes, he photographed the bag from all angles. Then he imported the photos into Adobe Photoshop® and used the clone stamp tool to modify the pocket sizes and even "stitch" a pattern across the front. From there, he opened the file in Adobe Illustrator® and made notations explaining the changes. Finally, he emailed the file back to the factory.

"Using Photoshop and Illustrator takes out the guesswork and makes the communication easy," Horn says, "If a pocket is too big, you select it and make it smaller. That way, the person at the factory can see exactly how it should look."

From there, it took only a few rounds of iterations until the final prototype was born. Every time the factory sent a prototype, the designers at MEDIUM and their counterparts at Adobe reviewed it and suggested changes. By the time the bag had reached its fourth revision, everyone was satisfied, production began in earnest.

Promoting with style

Now it was time to get the word out about the bag. First, MEDIUM set out to find a single, exclusive retailer, and happily Barneys New York agreed. From there, MEDIUM's in-house design team produced data sheets using Adobe InDesign and a web site with Adobe GoLive and Marcromedia Flash.

Images of bag with rain cover and without

Rain or shine, your bag is ready to go.


So far, the results have been positive. Fashion blogs and publications have shown plenty interest, and raves have also come from the few lucky designers who have tested out the bags.

"I can finally have a messenger bag and enter a client building without being asked to use the delivery entrance," says Matteo Bologna, president of Mucca Design.

Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich, senior art director and vice president at HarperCollins, agrees. "[It's a] perfect bag for this bionic age," he says. "It has more pockets than I have electronic devices and cables. Now if I only had the back to carry it."

Of course, Mr. Cumptich, it's not the bag that's heavy, it's all the things that creative pros like you want to put in it. Then again, that was the idea in the first place.

The Adobe Messenger Bag is now available online and at all Barneys New York stores.

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