A Keen Eye on Hand Tools: Tapping User-Centric Insights to Drive Design Innovation

Ames True Temper

Sundberg-Ferar worked with Ames True Temper to design a line of innovative pruning tools that include the hand pruners shown here. The team cross-referenced ideal user experiences with competitors’ vulnerabilities to help identify uncontested marketspaces. Research revealed opportunities to improve the ergonomics of the grips while at the same time creating a unique visual element (the “finger ring”) that distinguishes these premium pruners at the point of purchase. Versions for both men and women were designed to optimize comfort, addressing differences in hand and finger size.

Through hours of user observations and interviews with professional landscapers, master gardeners and amateur gardeners, the team consistently noted handling difficulties with the pruning tools being used, and compensatory behaviors that signaled inherent design deficiencies.

In response to these insights, we focused on incorporating unique design elements that allowed the user to maintain greater control of the tools and delivered enhanced handling security.

Ames True Temper: Pruning Tools

“When I prune these big shrubs, I hold my pruner like this, with one finger in the middle so I don’t drop the pruner when I’m grabbing and pulling the branches.”


Amateur Gardener

Human Impact

In a product category that has only seen incremental design changes over the years, Ames has been able to challenge traditional pruner design by incorporating elements that go beyond aesthetics and actually improve utility, allowing users to perform pruning tasks more quickly and with less effort.

Business Impact

Over several years, SF worked with Ames True Temper on a variety of design innovation projects involving not only non-power cutting tools, but new product opportunities to accommodate the unique needs of the growing segment of urban gardeners.

Other Consumer Products Projects