k2 blackhawk helmet

K2 came to Designworks in 2003 to bring innovation to the ski helmet category. As one of the most exciting brands in the action-sports industry, there was a rich legacy to work with. I led a team of designers and engineers who collaborated to develop truly innovative solutions in this crowded category.

One of our first insights was that helmets are always used in conjunction with goggles. However, they are typically poorly matched; even helmet/goggle combinations from the same brand do not align well. This misalignment creates a freeze spot on the user’s forehead, and requires constant adjusting. We collaborated with the K2 team to explore a unified helmet/goggle system, where the two components would work together.

The Blackhawk One was the result. The helmet and goggle each stand on their own merits as excellent ski accessories, but as a system they deliver some amazing benefits. The goggles attach with a flexible rubber strap that affords the user to pivot them up on top of the helmet, or quick-release one side. The outer geometries mate perfectly to eliminate the forehead cold spot.

The helmet also featured an innovative combination of vacuum-formed PC shell, and injection molded ABS. This allowed all ventilation to be concealed underneath the top shell, where internal air channels create a Venturi effect, and pull hot air off the user’s head as they move forward. Minimizing the vents allowed us to break away from the swiss-cheese style of venting favored by competitive products, and created a sophisticated, sleek, aerodynamic appearance. Earphone modules were also developed to integrate into the earpads and bring both audio capacity and two-way communication to the product.

Team: Andy Logan, Scott McManigal, Felix Nagelin

Photography: Darren Yasukochi