Going behind the lens with an Oakley designer
Oakley's design engineer Ryan Calilung reveals the company's design process
What's the Oakley design philosophy?
Our customers are athletes and our mission as designers is to give them a piece of kit that improves their experience. Though we're predominantly a design company we understand that aesthetics is only one facet of good design. We blur the lines between industrial design and engineering because we know they are absolutely intertwined. Industrial design is not only the aesthetics but the ergonomics, convenience, emotion and personality of a product. Engineering ensures that design considers fit, optical quality, durability and protection and Oakley is putting in more effort into hardcore design to help our customers perform than any other company.
What is the most important aspect of the design process?
It’s the beginning. We start with identifying the 'Problem Statement' - this is the issue that we are trying to solve for the customer. We apply this approach to all of our product segments including active, performance, lifestyle, and prescription eyewear.
What future developments and collaborations can we expect from Oakley?
It’s no secret that 'wearable' is the new buzz word. We’ve been doing wearable for over 10 years now, beginning with Oakley Thump (sunglasses with an integrated MP3 player). Eyewear is perfectly placed to be at the centre. Technology hasn’t caught up with our imagination yet and users are going to find new ways to use this gear that I can’t begin to imagine.
Can you explain the lead time for a new range?
Without sharing too much, I’m excited to be partnering with Mark Cavendish on a project that I know was rumoured when he was spotted wearing new glasses at the 2014 Tour de France. For our flagship technology platforms, lead time is normally about 18 months and that’s everything from concept to delivery. The actual development time is a small percentage of that - only about five months. The rest is manufacturing and validation to bring the product to market.
How long have you worked for Oakley and what products have you been involved with?
I’ve been at Oakley for almost 8 years now. My first big project was Jawbone and I’m now working on Racing Jacket. That was really the beginning of the mechanisation of Oakley. SwitchLock interchangeable lens technology was a solution that really spoke to our core consumer with the ability to easily switch out lenses based on conditions. After that I was involved with all eyewear with SwitchLock technology including Airbrake, Airwave, Split Jacket, RadarLocks and FastJacket. My position here now is more strategic so I get a chance to poke a finger into pretty much everything.
What sports does Oakley cover?
Oakley is the most diverse sports brand in the world, with deep roots in both action and traditional sports. We have more than 1,400 global professional athletes in surf, skate, snow, motocross, cycling, basketball, baseball, golf, NASCAR, cricket, volleyball, tennis, track and field, Moto GP, Formula1 and other sports.
Available now, the Oakley Heritage Collection celebrates the 30th anniversary of Oakley performance eyewear, bringing back iconic classics like Razorblades and Eyeshades. Check it out at uk.oakley.com (opens in new tab)
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