How Warm Should a Tuque Be?


A quick note about this section

Every year, we design and develop one product. We share our design brief online and follow the journey from brief to sketching to prototyping to final product. We then make the product available in our shop. The aim is to use research based design thinking methods to create better products and services.

Late last year we launched our inaugural Frontier Magazine, wherein we put forth our first design challenge: designing the world's best tuque.

Written by
Tala Berkes

Images from
Canwest Getty

The tuque is a Canadian fashion staple and winter wardrobe necessity. It takes innumerable forms worldwide, in fabric and structure, in function, and in name. Regardless of moniker, a tuque or Monmouth cap, beanie or bobble hat, should be warm. This criteria may be the easiest point to agree upon when considering the success of a tuque design. But how warm should it be?

Living in The Great White North, Canadians are exposed to some extreme weather conditions in both wild and urban environs. Keeping the head warm helps prevent the body’s core temperature from dropping too low — imperative when outdoors for extended periods of time. We can also experience some fairly mild winter weather. Additionally, many of us move from cold to warm several times throughout our day. Quick body heat regulation is required for comfort. It seems as though we have two major markets to consider, the outdoor adventurer and the urban explorer. Is it possible to design a tuque suitable for both? Or is this division in design needs unnecessary? It could be argued that a tuque good enough to prevent hypothermia would be more than adequate for the urban explorer.

As we go forward in this design challenge we are faced with an array of similarly complex questions. Our answers to these questions will drive our design, and will provide the structural skeleton to our hypothesis of what will make this tuque, the Frontier Tuque, the best in the world.

hockey goalie

We Must Consider

  • How warm should it be? Can a tuque be too warm?
  • Under what conditions and during what kind of activities will it be worn? Must it protect against wind/water/snow or just cold? How quickly must it dry?
  • What is our desired aesthetic, fit and feel? The yarn fibres, colour and knit structure of the tuque will be affected by these questions.
  • How easy is it to clean and maintain?
  • Where do the materials come from and where/how is it produced? That is, how ecologically friendly/sustainable/socially responsible is it?
  • What are common problems and complaints regarding tuques and head gear? Is our design addressing such issues?
  • What truly sets us apart? What does it mean to Frontier to be the best in the world?

We invite you to contribute to this discussion. The more we know about what people love and hate in their headwear, the better we can address these questions. What have we missed in our considerations? Do you have a tuque that you believe to be perfection, or perfectly deplorable? Tag us in a photo or tweet at us using #FrontierTuque.

Twitter: @frontier_is

We’ll enter you in a draw to win the undetermined, but sure to be remarkable Frontier Tuque.

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