When I was dreaming of the product, I always knew I wanted it to represent two things: 1. Education and 2. Climbing Kilimanjaro.
As you may know, we’re passionate about education, so creating a symbol for education was really important. When I think back to my school days, I remember those moments in the morning, never completely eager to get to school, where I would grab my backpack, throw my books in it and rush off to the bus. The one thing I always went to school with, was my backpack. So I dusted off the very backpack I used during those years and gathered inspiration from the design. I started sketching out the padded straps, the little sliders that help adjust where the backpack sits on your back and the overall silhouette of the bag. I almost kept it as plain and simple as that bag was, but decided that updating the plastic hardware and zippers to antique brass and using really heavy, rigid denim gave it a more sophisticated look.
The second source of inspiration for the design was from the trip I took to climb Kilimanjaro. Whenever I go hiking or climbing, I always bring a rucksack with me. Every rucksack I’ve ever used has the cover flap with a drawstring, so looking at packs that are designed this way helped me arrive at the final design of The Benson.
The overall goal of the design of the backpack, beyond being a high quality and functional product that serves a need for millions of consumers, was the weave those stories into the essence of the product.