Sarah Giblin

Good in Accessory Design.

Sarah Giblin

About Sarah Giblin

Sarah Giblin founded UK urban product design company Riut in 2014. She is a one-person entrepreneur who designs every aspect of RiutBags. Riut, pronounced "riot", stands for Revolution in user thinking. This is Sarah's personal mantra, her disruptive yet positive design philosophy and the impact she wants her products to have on their users. RiutBag users are urban travelers: commuters, urban tourists and city dwellers. Sarah designs products to meet the demands of our urbanisation challenges: high density population, associated crime, stress, time pressure and fear of crime. Riut's products empower the user to feel calmer and safer in an urban context. Riut is communicative, open, honest and user focussed. Riut was built on social media surveys and successful crowdfunding via Kickstarter.

  • Winner of 4 A' Design Awards.
  • Good in Accessory Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Accessory
RiutBag Rucksack

RiutBag Rucksack

Accessory Design

RiutBag R15 Secure Laptop Backpack

RiutBag R15 Secure Laptop Backpack

Accessory Design

RiutBag Crush Safe urban daypack

RiutBag Crush Safe urban daypack

Accessory Design

RiutBag X35 Secure Origami Bag

RiutBag X35 Secure Origami Bag

Accessory Design


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Extended Interview with Sarah Giblin

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?
I'm a life-long backpack user and commuter. That's my only qualification to make backpacks. I have never studied design. A few years ago, I had my eureka moment: I realised that the conventional backpack design was causing extra stress and worry when we travel through a busy city. The problem? The person behind you can get into your backpack more easily than you can. So I decided to turn the backpack round exactly the opposite way. In March 2014 I left my job with my sketches to I remove all the zips off the outside of backpacks and put them against your back. I call this the RiutBag, pronounced "riot bag": the secure, backwards backpack. It's designed for the world's most frequent travellers, travellers, commuters, digital nomads and flyers who want peace of mind wherever they go. I made the RiutBag with the help of over 2,500 city travellers. How? On crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. Thanks to them I now have a living breathing startup and there are RiutBag users in cities all over the world. I now run a one-person startup shipping RiutBags globally every day from www.riut.co.uk. It's tough, but it's worth it to know that RiutBag users feel more secure, confident and calm every day.
How did you become a designer?
Solving real problems. That's my motivation. Any object around us that we complain about may need rethinking. Is it too big, too small, too uncomfortably, too loud, too quiet, too this, too that? Think about how you would fix it. If your idea works and you want to make it, you can use many free online tools to find other users, survey them and find support for your idea through crowdfunding.
What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?
Look for problems. Any think around us that we complain about may need rethinking. Is it too big, too small, too uncomfortable, too loud, too quiet, too this, too that? Think about how you would fix it. If your idea works and you want to make it, you can use many free online tools to find other users, survey them and find support for your idea through crowdfunding. It's tough, but then so is every job on some days. If you want to have a positive impact on the world around you by making something that solves real problems, you really can. Just listen out for those complaints!
You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?
Design of physical objects simply helps us - humans - interact with the world around us. They enable us to do more than we could on our own. Clothes help us to stay warm, style ourselves in a socially acceptable way and focus on things other than our bodies. Backpacks help us carry more than we could in our hands. They allow our back to take the weight of these items whilst keeping our hands free to interact with other things. Shoes allow us to walk long distances without damage to our feet. Knives and forks allow us to eat a wide range of foods more easily. The list of descriptions is endless. Good design not only enables us to do more, it allows us to do more simply, easily, intuitively and without concern. The conventional backpack did carry things; but it made us feel worried because the zips were in the wrong place. The RiutBag design allows you to carry all your tech and belongings, and now you can do so safely and securely, which means you feel less stress every day for years to come. We should not only choose better designs to use every day, we too can be the creators of new designs.
How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?
User thinking. I use survey tools like www.surveymonkey.com to ask my RiutBag users and other commuters or city travellers what are the problems they face. Have they got a good place to put their keys? Can they find they phone easily? I ask them what they like about urban travel and what they can't stand! I look at all this information and design to solve the real problems I see in the data.
Who is your favourite designer?
I've made 16 version of my designs. I update them every time with user feedback. My favourite part of the design is the core feature - zips against your back - and the D-pocket which belongs to the new RiutBag. The D-pocket lets you store your smartphone and access it on the go whilst keeping it secure. You can also keep your passport there for the times you need to move quickly through an airport whilst still keeping your things safe.
Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?
Before I started Riut, I worked in a normal office job in my home town. I was a secretary four years ago and I was a classical singer before that :) Designing RiutBags, managing manufacturer and selling them online is tough but it's the greatest thing I've ever done for other people and myself.
What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?
For me it's all about problem solving for the user in context. Does this thing solve a problem? When the user is in full swing in their daily life, using this design in context, does it still work? A great design is one that really solves problems and continues to change with user feedback to keep evolving over time.
What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?
My biggest supporters were other backpack users on Kickstarter. Through two crowdfunding campaigns, over 2,500 city travellers raised over £200,000 to see the RiutBag made into a reality. Without this amazing group of online backpack users - the vast majority of which I do not know - the quality of the RiutBag, its design and manufacture couldn't have been a achieved. And it could never have been created.

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