Reinventing an everyday tool as a shop essential

APEX Tools: Wiss Brand Scissors

APEX tools had a successful niche product with WISS heavy duty aviation snips but saw a new market opportunity for a medium duty scissor line at big box retail. WISS had no products in this category and engaged SF to help develop a user centered research approach to understand the demands of contractors and heavy-duty users who needed something beyond a craft scissor. The team also developed a new Visual Brand Language to make a splash at retail and introduce customers to this new product line.

After a successful launch at Home Depot, WISS came back to SF to apply the new VBL to all of the utility knife products. Materials, manufacturing processes, and specific usability demands were all investigated to create a whole new line of WISS knives.


Consumer Products

Intuitive Selection, Instinctive Application

During the team’s field research we began to notice users had specific preferences for the length and width of the blade in relation to the cutting task at hand. They also instinctively preferred handle types that allowed the amount of pressure and mobility the job demanded.

To investigate further, during some focus group activities, we provided users with specific blade examples and separate specific handle designs. These users were then tasked with various cutting tasks, such as cutting plastic sheets, shingles, plastic tubing, chicken wire, etc. The users paired together their ideal blade and handle for the job. This data set allowed the design team to build a comprehensive and compatible product line of 3 scissors that covered the majority of ideal use cases so consumers could make an intuitive selection when making an instinctive application.

Wiss Tools: Medium Duty Shop Scissors

The foundation for successful cutting tools makes the connection between the user’s proportional relationship between the tool and the task at hand.

Human Impact

A new product category was created that most professional craftsman didn’t realize they needed: versatile, shop-specific scissors. This product line has replaced the retired household scissor in toolbox drawers and enabled people to better pick the right tool for the job so they can be more effective, safer, and enjoy a premium cutting experience for rigorous cutting tasks.



Business Impact

With the launch of the WISS scissor line, and the growth of the utility knife category, APEX tools was able to take a very niche brand and grow its presence at big box retail, add eight new products to its portfolio, and establish WISS as a recognizable consumer brand in the cutting tool space.

Other Consumer Products Projects