Dexter is a comfortable, nimble work sled that makes car maintenance fun and effortless. I was inspired by car culture in Los Angeles and the do-it-yourself spirit that has taken root during the Great Recession.

The design process began with several questions. What makes a product instantly feel like a classic? Can a product be designed to improve with time?

Dexter takes cues from Eames furniture and a personal fascination with nature. Using plywood, leather and steel imparts a wabi-sabi aesthetic to Dexter. Every part was designed to improve in comfort like an authentic baseball glove. Wabi-sabi is a Japanese philosophy that embraces transience — the character and imperfections that develop with time.

Dexter work sled Dexter lights

My research showed that existing products were geared towards one-time users, and thus were often made of inexpensive materials: primarily plastic, foam and fake leather.

Glaring pain points existed throughout the user experience. A recurring behavior involved users gripping a flashlight with their teeth to illuminate the work area. Long-lasting, bright LEDs were built into Dexter’s head rest.

Dexter magnetic tool  holders

The typical six-wheel configuration, uses 1.5” diameter wheels set under the frame. By offsetting the wheels, Dexter provides both a lower profile and larger wheels that are more adept at rolling across cracked and tiled floors.

A single-handed motion lowers the work sled onto its wheels. The user’s body weight mechanically locks all four wheels thus preventing the work sled from moving while tightening bolts.

Dexter magnetic tool  holders

Magnetic tool rests keep wrenches and hardware within reach. Concealed inside the plywood, powerful magnets keep tools and loose hardware from getting lost.

Sketch of locking mechanism

The brand flowed naturally from the product’s design principles, an identity imbued with authority that could become an icon of the DIY lifestyle.

The name Dexter gives a human personality to the product, and evokes dexterity, a newfound freedom to use your hands. Connecting the letters “ext” creates a sense of motion throughout the logo.

Dexter logo