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I’m Henry Lefens, a product designer from Chicago. I hope that my passion for product and hands-on process shows through in my work. Recently, I have been designing climbing and skiing equipment for Black Diamond Equip. While there, I designed highly technical products, taking me to places like Vietnam, China, and The Philippines; where I gained factory experience, negotiation skills, and advanced knowledge of construction, materials and manufacturing. At Black Diamond I received advanced training from some of the world’s best designers and developers, as I took my product categories from brief to final production. I frequently met with directors and VPs and presented my designs to large groups of 100-plus from varied disciplines and departments. Alongside my technical experience, I have a keen understanding of trends, fashion, textile, color, and branding. Although I was specialized at Black Diamond, I am able and ready to apply my passion and process to various products and industries. When not designing, I’m melting fabric with my heat press, rock climbing, riding my bicycle, or blogging at:

HENRY LEFENS product designer

cell: 847.894.6801 henrylefens @ gmail

EXPERIENCE product designer / black diamond equipment / slc, utah / apr 2012-apr 2014 •Led

design of two product categories including gloves and harnesses •Designed 6 full collections of product from concept to production including first-ever women’s glove collection •Frequently traveled to Asian factories working closely with product developers


line work, CMF, product graphics and packaging for all products •Conducted in-depth focus groups, consumer research and field testing •Made mock ups, rough patterns and all tech packs

design intern / fahrenheit design / austin, texas / may-aug 2011 •Designed

touchscreen user interfaces for home automation software •Helped design tech products for Dell Inc.


physical and cad models •Communicated ideas with sketching and rendering packages

sponsored designer / wicked audio / slc, utah / byu sponsored project 2011 •Designed

new line of headphones to expand current consumer base •Created brand story and positioning


consumer research focusing on youth culture and trend

industrial design teaching assistant / byu sketch lab / oct 2011-dec 2011 •Awarded

position for sketching ability a sketching and 3D form class •Conducted sketching demos and critiques •Ran


ability to articulate design principles and mentor others

EDUCATION bfa industrial design / brigham young university / provo, utah / 2009-2012 architecture / university of oregon / eugene, oregon / 2006-2007

TOOLS Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Indesign, Sketchbook Pro, Solidworks, Cinema 4D, analog sketching, sewing


Carolina State University - ‘Textile Fundamentals’ Certificate sewn goods construction and materials knowledge •Consistantly ranked #1 in graduating class - BYU Industrial Design Program •Technical


Designed for Black Diamond’s sponsored athletes and other pro climbers; the Vectran harnesses are Black Diamond’s most advanced and technical offering. I was able to see some of the pros I admired growing up, breaking world records while wearing the 2014 Pro Series Vectran harnesses.

GETTING PHYSICAL All of these mock ups and experiments I sewed in the Black Diamond sew lab. It was important to get physical right away in the design process because tactility and technical features were paramount and best explored and expresses physically.

GETTING TECHNICAL I have created in-depth tech packs for all of the products I’ve designed at Black Diamond. Each factory I work with holds traditions and ‘tribal knowledge’ that is taken into account so each tech pack is customized to that particular vendor’s understanding and needs.

FACTORY PROCESS It was important to understand the factory processes and their order of operations in the development of harnesses so that I could better utilize their capabilities and push them to try new things to create truly innovative products.

Folding the harness shells inside out after sewing is a tricky process. This guy was showing me how fast he could do it.

Ozone. Men’s sport harness

Chaos. Men’s traditional harness

Aura. Women’s sport harness

Ethos. Women’s traditional harness

FOR SAVING YOUR LIFE Climbers trust their gear with their lives. Though Vectran fibers are perfect for creating a lightweight construction, it requires close monitoring and constant tweaking and changing of design to allow it to pass rigorous testing requirements. Not only strength testing as shown above, but all harnesses must go through textile abrasion testing, field testing, fit testing, and environment testing.

RECORD BREAKING I received a thank you note from Adam Ondra after he set new climbing records while testing this harness. Those events led “Rock and Ice Magazine” to crown him with the new momentous title: “Best Climber Ever”.

bd athlete daniel jung wearing the vectran harness on one of the world’s hardest routes, “la rambla” (9a+) in siurana, spain.


10X STRONGER THAN STEEL SERIES This is a personal project of mine that I have been developing over the last year or so in my free time. I have designed, developed, branded and directed this project and it is my pleasure to finally share it for the first time. I call it ‘Pioneer’ and it brings together the skills I’ve learned in my profession, my interests, personal aesthetic, and desire to create soft goods that match the precision and technical consideration of our favorite devices. Please enjoy. photo credit: Lucy Call



it started in 2012 with a desire to create soft goods that were as technical and robust as the hot-forged, molded, and stamped hard goods i was surrounded by at work

spectra fabric getting ready for martindale abrasion testing


STRONGER THAT STEEL The finely woven ultra-high-molecularweight polyethylene fiber (spectra) is over 10X times stronger than steel per weight

MINIMAL CONSTRUCTION Load-bearing bar tacks are used as main connection points to ensure a strong and minimalist construction

3D SPACER MESH PROTECTION 3D spacer mesh is used as the impact protection layer, and its air holes help to slip devices in and out

LASER CUT PRECISION All materials are laser cut for unrivaled precision down to the millimeter

HEAT-MOLDED LAMINATE CONSTRUCTION 3-layer heat-pressed Bemis laminate construction eliminates need for interior seam bulk and gives a soft hand and sturdy moldable core

MADE IN USA All designs, development steps, materials, colors, etc. were established and sampled in my home studio into the late hours of the night. I purchased the correct machinery to properly execute the design to exact specifications and quality that I had in mind. Understanding the machinery, experimenting with processes and production fixtures, while having complete control of every aspect, down to the very stitch length, created a terrific situation that many hands-on designers dream to have. I produced short runs of the Pioneer products in my studio/factory and sent them out to dozens of field testers to confirm their quality and durability.


MADE IN ASIA My small-scale and low-budget studio production had its limitations. I also did not posses the manufacturing hand skills that people with years of daily experience in Asia can offer. In order to get professional consistency I needed to reach out to a factory. I was able to have a factory I had visited before, that had experience in laminate construction, give Pioneer a try. Handing over the design was easier than ever because I had refined not only the design specs, but the manufacturing steps as well. Pictured are some of the steps being performed in the Asian factory.

BRANDING I created all of the branding and packaging for Pioneer. I strategically directed the brand into what you see here as I believe this aesthetic and the values of Pioneer are part of the emerging trend towards a functional tech aesthetic. I took inspiration from brands like Acronym, Isaora and Aitor Throup.

PACKS ETC. I led the design of the harness and glove categories. In addition to that role, I was able to contribute to the design of a few packs and bags as well as other projects I cannot show at this time. Featured in this section is also a bag project that I constructed while still in school.

PERFORMANCE AND LIFESTYLE The Magnum (shown here) is part of a series of lightweight packs for fast movement and everyday use. This design attempts to create a classic aesthetic that feel appropriate for outdoor activities as well as urban or daily use. The side pockets use a closure system previously only found on glove gauntlets.

PREMIUM CHALK BAGS The shell of this bag is patterned out of one piece with three lobes, giving it a signature silhouette. The colors and materials correlate with the premium harnesses I designed the same season.

HAND MADE BEGINNINGS I designed, patterned and sewed this bag out of fabric and leather I found at an upholstery shop while still in school. This project taught me details of sewing construction and patterning. I had to work through a lot of problems with this bag and in general it failed to live up to my lofty expectations as a beginner, but was a great learning process.

BROKEN NOSE HARD CIDER This is a free-lance graphic design and branding/positioning project I recently completed. The client was completely open to my direction and aesthetic, so this project accurately reflects my personal style. The brand story and positioning that I established was the key director of the end aesthetic.

two friends spent a year in europe studying the traditional techniques of cider making. they wanted to bring it all back home to chicago. putting craft and tradition first, they believed their city was ready for an authentic approach to hard cider.

“Once you’ve come to be part of this particular patch, you’ll never love another. Like loving a woman with a broken nose, you may well find lovelier lovelies. But never a lovely so real.” -Nelson Algren, ‘Chicago: City on the Make’


PROCESS With very few constraints, I had to diverge pretty far into many different areas before converging on a few main themes and features for the client to agree on. Creating a stamp helped give the artwork the authentic analog characteristic.

SKI GLOVES Black Diamond is the industry leader in high-end ski/outdoor gloves. I led all glove design and direction and was able to work on such cult classics as the Guide Glove and Mercury Mitt, as well as create their first line of women’s specific gloves for skiing and backcountry activities. I worked with the world’s leading glove manufacturers in Vietnam and Shanghai and learned from their generations of technical experience and materials knowledge. I have designed over 60 pairs of gloves at Black Diamond, so featured is only a small sampling of projects that interested or challenged me most.

MOCK UPS AND MATERIALS I have explored many different materials and combinations in the process of designing gloves. I gained advanced knowledge in leather manipulation as well as Gore-Tex products and apparel fabrics.

GLOVES HAVE LAYERS The inside of a Black Diamond glove is a very complex system of layers that influence the feel and warmth much more than the shells you will see pictured. The way you pattern the seams, materials and weights you choose, and the way you deal with the Gore-Tex liner are puzzles to be solved.

CREATING COLLECTIONS I designed over 6 collections of products while at BD. Shown here is a new collection of Pro Series gloves; a staple that Black Diamond is known for. With the recent introduction of Black Diamond’s apparel line this collection was designed to stay on brand amd play nice with the jackets you see here.

FREERIDE INSPIRE fighter dynamic wrap/protect tools

no outseam ngers, return to usual way

this is angled, not striaght 1/4 in. ap no eva, just stitches

add dart for bending of rst knuckle

ap should lay at when hand is in st position, pattern dart to do this correctly

darts pattern this line exactly like this thicken. maybe ock PU? move line

laminated no silicone print

remove stitch embroidery

use 1562 fabric, use 1562 fabric, not pertex

larger, cleaner, as shown

make velcro this large, too small in sample

make tighter pattern better


SOMETHING NEW This collection was a departure for Black Diamond, who had never given women’s products much consideration. I interviewed, observed and conducted multiple focus groups of women to better understand the female user. In addition, BD was launching their first women’s line of apparel the same season and these were designed to pair seamlessly with the new apparel direction and attitude.

MY FAVORITE GLOVE Out of 60-plus gloves that I have designed, the Iris Glove/Mitt is my favorite. Many iterations and samples came together to achieve a sense of warmth, protection, and athleticism. It also was a favorite amongst female field testers. The puffy form and rich, deep purple tones and contrasting textures make this a beautiful piece.


Lunch time at the glove factory. Nha Trang, Vietnam

Henry Lefens Design Portfolio  

Henry Lefens Professional Design Portfolio

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