The inspiration for this project came out of necessity. I was looking for a compact, minimalist way to carry cards around as a replacement for my wallet, but there was nothing on the market that struck the right balance of form and function. So I decided to design a cardholder for myself.
Because of the way the cardholder is designed, I was able to circumvent a lot of the production problems other products might encounter. The small size of the blueprint meant I could use upcycled leather offcuts as my primary material. This made material sourcing easier, more affordable, and kinder to the planet. The cardholder also requires only minimal production and assembly. It’s designed to fold into itself, so there’s no need for stitching and it can be easily assembled by the end user. This feature also serves to make the cardholder longer lasting, since stitching is often the first thing to wear on leather products. I used a lot of open tools during process, so I decided to sell the design file for a small fee for others to experiment with. Anyone with access to a laser cutter can produce my design with their own materials.
An idea stays an idea forever if not tested. After I made an initial pattern, I began testing at home using a desktop printer and letter sized paper. This low-fi approach allowed me to rapidly prototype and improve the design. By the time I made the first leather version, most of the design kinks had already been worked out.
Through the branding process, I wanted to draw on connotations of high quality and beauty. For the typeface I used a slightly modified Freight Big Pro, which is a sleek and elegant serif font. The name Lëkur means leather or skin in Albanian. I decided to make the ë a distinctive part of the brand. It is a part of the wordmark but also can work as an icon.
I created a simple website to showcase this product. The site is optimized for varying screen sizes to ensure the experience isn’t compromised, no matter how the site is accessed. To emphasize the earthtones of the leather, I used beige instead of white for a light background, and dark brown instead of black for a dark one.
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