The good old-fashioned Everyday Carry (EDC) knife has become a status symbol in the knife category.
In the outdoor knife category, function and performance have always been must-haves. Increasingly, style and aesthetic are taking center stage, too, as clean and modern designs drive the Everyday Carry knife category in a trendy direction.
“At Gerber, we work hard to have a finger on the pulse of the EDC/Pocket Dump culture,” says Kylie Williamson, brand communication specialist, Gerber Gear. (See our sidebar on #pocketdump trends.) “We’ve noticed that folks are increasingly looking for everyday carry knives that have character and that can speak to a person’s identity.”
Gerber’s new Jukebox, which comes out in June, hits on this trend. The Jukebox’s design features an extended tang and its look is a throw-back to the old barbershop blades. The Jukebox has tortoise shell and marble color options that “align and elevate the user’s identity,” Williamson says.
Chris Brooks, director of brand management, Buck Knives, agrees that “style and aesthetics are very important in an EDC.” Adds Brooks, “Most folks will purchase off of looks and how the knife feels in their hands or looks in their pocket or on their belt. Sometimes function is the least of their worries.”
Performance and function remain critical for brands, regardless of “style” trends. The new Sprint Series of knives from Buck Knives are modern and stylish knives that feature a unique ball bearing technology. They are positioned as an everyday carry knife with an entry level price point.
“A knife can give you status, kind of like a watch or sunglasses,” notes Brooks. “We have been focusing quite a bit on style and aesthetics lately, but all the while making sure that the blade performs and is safe. I believe we are doing all of this very well.”
At Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT), the brand works with a diverse roster of creative designers from around the world to bring “a unique point of view” to its knife designs.
“Style and aesthetic are important drivers across the CRKT product line,” says Doug Flagg, VP of marketing & innovation, CRKT. He adds, “style and aesthetic are especially vital to the Everyday Carry (EDC) category. Our research has shown that consumers desire a distinctive design that resonates with them as an individual.”
CRKT’s Pilar knife series is among its most popular EDC lines. Designed by Denmark’s Jesper Voxnaes, a sailor and outdoor adventurer, the name Pilar is an homage to Ernest Hemingway’s boat, which Hemingway infamously ventured around in and used to chase German U-boats in the Caribbean during WWII. The knife has a distinctive blade shape and handle style, and has an aesthetic that consumers gravitate towards. “The inspired design has an interesting back story that speaks to the way we work with the custom knife making community to bring designs to life,” says Flagg.
“The EDC category is a growing trend and an important part of our business,” adds Flagg.
Leatherman, the iconic multi-tool brand, is not only fine-tuning product aesthetic but is also reinventing its brand aesthetic, with a new logo and brand refresh for 2019.
Thirty-five years after Tim Leatherman started the brand by creating a multi-tool in his garage, the brand is redefining its positioning and unveiling Leatherman FREE, an entirely new platform of multipurpose tools which aims to offer an elevated user experience.
Leatherman’s new FREE collection is its most extensive product launch ever. Items in the FREE collection feature a first-of-its-kind magnetic architecture that integrates magnets into the design, making it easier to open, handle, and close the tools.
“The new multipurpose platform infuses new life into the brand and offers a new approach to how we design and build products,” says Ben Rivera, president and CEO of Leatherman Tool Group. “The new logo reflects that evolution. We are taking the focus off the pliers itself and now embracing everything the tool enables us to do. We are evolving from just making multi-tools with pliers to becoming a multipurpose brand that empowers the multi in everyone.”
The refreshed Leatherman logo represents the brand’s objective to expand its draw to wider audiences and showcases the evolution of the brand. The former logo depicted a silhouette of a pliers-based Leatherman tool. The sleeker logo hints at the shape of the iconic tool yet stands alone as the “L” in Leatherman.
“Becoming a multipurpose brand means thinking about what our tools represent to a diverse group of owners and recognizing that it’s different for everyone,” says Rivera.