Overhauling appearance to match brand performance

Excel Industries manufactures zero-turn mowers for the residential and commercial mower markets. Its Hustler branded Raptor series is well-known throughout the industry for features such as tough-welded steel decks, heavy-duty fabricated frames and exclusive SmoothTrak steering, and carries a reputation for heavy-duty performance and reliability. Excel wanted the Raptor's appearance to mirror its legendary reputation and asked Design Central to help develop a new visual direction for its next generation of Raptor zero-turn mowers.

  • Excel Industries Inc.
  • Consumer
  • Strategy
  • Product Design
  • Prototyping

Objective: Overhaul the appearance of the Raptor zero-turn mower

Insight session propels design

Starting with an innovation and insight session the Design Central and Excel teams identified opportunities to invigorate the design. Structural improvements planned for the chassis lead to a redesign across the Raptor line, including each models' molded parts. Preliminary themes of aggressive, tough, refined and precision laid the groundwork to convey the visual and functional quality of heavy-duty with a final focus settling on ruggedness and durability.

Collaboration focuses development effort

Design Central developed full-size prototypes to demonstrate the Raptor's design intent. On-the-spot edits performed on the prototypes during the collaboration sessions enabled the Design Central and Hustler teams to erase ambiguities. The collaboration process also helped inform Hustler's internal engineering process for the frame construction.