A three week project at the Umeå Institute of Design in collaboration with Jens Näslunds from the Gardena Division of the Husqvarna group. Group research was conducted with Martin Ferm, Mindy Lee, and Czeslawa Konieczna.



How might we design a better ergonomic handle for the existing gardena handsaw?


The final design of the Gardena handsaw includes various features discovered through user testing. The shape and angle of the handle was decided after multiple usability testing. 

1. Parallel and circular elements

3. Thumb rest for precision cuts 

4. Brightly colored spine for added friendliness

Q. How did you conduct your research? 

We started our research by observing local arborists from Umeå Kommun.

We spoke in depth with them regarding their work and what they liked and did not like about their tool. We also had the opportunity to try the saws ourselves and experience cutting branches.

Research with existing saws

Interview with local arborists 

Group research and mapping functions  

Q. How did you come up with your concepts? 

We identified three keywords that represents the gardena brand. 

The three brand values that we choose were innovative, intuitive, and friendly. I created various concept drawings based on each value. Additionally, the design of the handle needs to incorporate the existing Garden brand language. Special attention given to the Gardena design language of circular and parallel lines.  

Innitial sketches focused on the three design directions

Group tutoring with Jens 

Feedback from group evaluation session

Q. How did you test your concepts? 

With this project I focused on improving my model making skills and exploring form in 3D.

Much of the shape exploration of the handle was in low density foam. I worked in a continuous cycle of interating with foam and sketching in order to define the best ergonomics and semantics. 

Some foam models exploring semantics

Making Lo-Fi sketch models 

Prototyping using low density foam

Q. How did you test your concepts? 

We conducted testing session to test different variations of the handles. 

In order achieve the optimal solution for the handle, I conducted user tests with students. I made several sets of prototypes in order to test the different ergonomic parameters of the handle. Factors such as angle, length, width, and shape were tested.

User testing on the optimal shape and angle of the handle 

I asked users to evaluate their prefered handle 

Insights from the user tests showed that the preferred angle was between 0 degrees and 45 degrees. Most preferred the oval shape, the short handle, the medium length and a thumb rest for precision and control.


The second handle from the right was the preferred angle 

The middle handle had the perferred width

Most users prefered the shorter handle

Most users found the fish belly handle to be comfortable

Q. How did you finalize your handle? 

After condensing the user research, I made a few more sketches and foam models.

I first reproduced the chosen model in a higher density grey foam. I then added details such as split lines and dot texture. The final presentation model was finished with a coat of paint in the Gardena colors. A faux blade was a fixed to complete the saw. 

Final concept sketch iterations

Final model before assembly

Painting final concept model