1st Edition

Human Body A Wearable Product Designer's Guide

By Karen L. LaBat, Karen S. Ryan Copyright 2019
    692 Pages 200 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Association of American Publishers (AAP) Finalist for the 2020 PROSE Award

    Association of American Publishers (AAP) Subject Category Winner for the 2020 PROSE Award

    2019 Taylor & Francis Award Winner for Outstanding Professional Book!

    Human Body: A Wearable Product Designer's Guide, unlike other anatomy books, is divided into sections pertinent to wearable product designers. Two introductory chapters include many definitions, an introduction to anatomical terminology, and brief discussions of the body's systems, setting the stage for the remaining chapters. The book is extensively referenced and has a large glossary with both anatomical and design terms making it maximally useful for interdisciplinary collaborative work. The book includes 200 original illustrations and many product examples to demonstrate relationships between wearable product components and anatomy. Exercises introduce useful anatomical, physiological, and biomechanical concepts and include design challenges.


    • Includes body region chapters on head and neck, upper torso and arms, lower torso and legs, the mid-torso, hands, feet, and a chapter on the body as a whole
    • Contains short sections on growth and development, pregnancy, and aging as well as sections on posture, gait, and designing total body garments
    • Describes important regional muscles and their actions as well as joint range of motion (ROM) definitions and data with applications to designing motion into wearable products
    • Presents appendices correlating to each body region’s anatomy with instructions for landmarking and measuring the body, a valuable resource for a lifetime of designing
    • For product design examples based on the book go to:  https://www.uosportsproductdesign.com/humananatomy-sportsproductdesign-sokolowski-labat

    Chapter 1: The Human Body as the Foundation for Wearable Product Design

    • Human Body/Wearable product/Environment
      • Environments: Everyday, Sports and athletic, Medical and health. Theatrical, Hazardous
      • Human body: Diversity-Opportunity and challenge
      • Wearable product: Mediator between environment and human body

    • Wearable product design: Anatomy and product interaction

      • Complex body to simple forms to product structure . . . Product materials selection . . . Fitting the product to the body: Static and dynamic . . . Fit and comfort

    • Wearable product design: Prototype to multiple sizes
      • Assessing body shape and size: Anthropometry, Size and sizing systems

    • Landmarking and measuring the body for product design applications
    • The human body "map"
    • Design for the human body

    Chapter 2. Body systems: The basics

    • Skeletal system: Body frame
      • Overview, materials, joint types

    • Muscular system: Movers

      • Overview, types, shape and action, energy consumption, contribution to body form

    • Nervous system: Sensing, directing, and coordinating

      • Central nervous system and peripheral nervous system . . . Sensory and motor divisions

    • Stability and motion: Interactions in a neuro-musculo-skeletal system
      • Body stabilization . . . Body in motion . . . Range of motion

    • Design for motion

    • Fat: Fuel and form
      • Fat types and functions . . . Fat patterning

    • Internal soft tissue systems: Respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic, digestive, urinary, reproductive, and endocrine

    • Integumentary system: Coverage and protection

      • Skin structure and function . . . Healthy skin . . . Damaged skin . . . Contact and atopic dermatitis related to product materials

    • Body systems: Conclusion

    Chapter 3: Designing for Head and Neck Anatomy

    • The brain: Central control

      • Brain segments, functions, and protection . . . The "floating brain" and concussion protection

    • Bones of the head: Protection, facial form, and stable/mobile jaw bones

    • Head muscles and fat: Motion, expression—further defining individuality
    • Superficial nerves and blood vessels in the head: Functions and design cautions

      • Nerves and nerve locations related to products . . . Vulnerable arteries and veins . . . Blood vessels as heat conduits

    • Eyes, ears, nose, mouth: The senses

      • Eyes and sight . . . Focus on eyewear function and fitting . . . Ears and hearing—external and internal structures and functions . . . Protecting and enhancing hearing . . . nose and mouth—airways, smell, and taste

    • Head and neck lymphatics: Fluid conduits and debris collectors
    • Skin and hair: Encasing it all
    • The neck: Connecting head and torso

      • Structures and functions related to product design and safety

    • Head and neck range of motion (ROM)
    • Head and neck landmarking and measuring
    • Head/neckwear: fit, sizes and sizing systems
    • Designing for head and neck anatomy: Conclusion

    Chapter 4: Designing for Upper Torso and Arm Anatomy

    • Thorax: Overview
    • Circulatory system in the thorax and arms

      • Energy distribution, waste management, and temperature regulation . . . Documenting circulatory system function with wearable products

    • Respiratory system in the thorax

      • Structure and function . . . Focus on products for use with the respiratory system

    • Skeletal system in the thorax and arms: Protection, mobility, and reach

      • Spine and rib cage structure and function . . . Spinal curve variations product design considerations
      • Arm appendicular skeleton structure and function . . . The mobile shoulder region product design considerations

    • Upper torso and arm muscles: Structure and function
    • Nervous system in the upper torso and arms
    • Connecting structures in the thorax
    • Upper abdomen: Digestive and urinary systems
    • Upper torso organs: Summary
    • Upper torso and arm fat: Body form, energy storage, and insulation
    • Lymphatic system in the upper torso and arm

      • Compression sleeves for lymphedema

    • Breasts: Structure, function, medical issues, and products
      • Bras: Everyday, maternity, nursing, mastectomy

    • Axilla: Structure and function
      • Perspiration effects on product materials

    • Upper torso: Spine and rib cage motion
      • Thoracic spinal motion, Lumbar spinal motion, Rib cage and breast movement

    • Motions of the shoulder and arm

      • Accommodating motion at the complex shoulder/arm interface

    • Upper torso and arm landmarking and measuring

      • Focus on bra fit and sizing

    • Designing for the upper torso and arms: Conclusion

    Chapter 5. Designing for Lower Torso and Leg Anatomy

    • Lower torso: Overview
    • Digestive system in the lower torso
    • Urinary system in the lower torso: Structure and urine production, collection, and release

      • Incontinence management products . . . Catheters . . . Protective products for the perineal region

    • Reproductive system: Structures, function, and wearable products

      • Male reproductive system structures and functions . . . Male wearable products for prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease . . . Male wearable products and fertility
      • Female reproductive system structures and function . . . Female wearable products for prevention of pregnancy and STDs . . . Menstruation and menstrual management products . . . Pregnancy and maternity product fit and sizing

    • Lower torso and leg skeletal system: Protection, support, and mobility

      • Gender-related differences in pelvic bone structure and function . . . Pelvic tilt and wearable product design considerations . . . Knee joint, patella, tibia, and fibula structure, function, and wearable products

    • Lower torso and leg muscles: Structure and function

      • Muscular components of the lower torso . . . Muscular components of the thigh and leg

    • Lower torso fat: gender differences
    • Summary: Gender and activity differences influence lower torso and leg wearable products

    • Lower torso and leg range of motion
    • Circulatory, nervous, and lymphatic systems in the lower torso and legs

      • Wearable products to facilitate venous blood flow from the legs to the heart . . . Developments in compression wearables . . . Advanced wearable technology
      • Peripheral nerve structures in the pelvis, lower torso, and legs . . . Motor nerves, sensory nerves, and nerve compression sites
      • Lymphatic system lower torso and leg wearable product considerations

    • Lower torso and leg skin including wearable product considerations

      • Lower torso and leg skin function . . . Perineal region skin secretions, sweat, hair, and wearable product considerations

    • Lower torso and leg landmarking and measuring

      • Landmarks and measurements for lower torso and leg designs—gender specific considerations . . . Focus on fit and sizing of men’s underwear and women’s underwear

    • Designing for the lower torso and legs: Conclusion

    Chapter 6. Designing for Mid-Torso Anatomy

    • Waist circumference location
    • Waist circumference location methods
    • Waist circumference defined by health professionals
    • Body scanning and waist circumference locations
    • Anatomical regions in the mid-torso
    • Product waistline related to mid-torso regions
    • Body type determined by mid-torso form and shape
    • Mid-torso body type categorization methods
    • Effects of waist circumference location and body type on bifurcated product shapes

      • Pelvis position (hip tilt) effects on pants crotch curve . . . Anatomical variations and crotch curve shape and length . . . Pregnancy effects on pants shape and fit . . . Pants crotch curve related to male genital anatomy

    • Motion at the mid-torso
    • Waistline product (belt) fit
    • Designing for the mid-torso: Conclusion

    Chapter 7. Designing for Hand and Wrist Anatomy

    • Wrist and hand bones, hand joints, and the radiocarpal joint

      • Focus on products protecting bony hand and wrist structures . . . Sports product wearables to prevent wrist and forearm injuries

    • Hand and wrist ligaments, tendons, and muscles
    • Forearm, wrist, and hand: Natural and functional positions
    • Nerves, blood vessels, and lymphatics of the hand and wrist
    • Skin and fingernails of the hand, and product considerations
    • Hand variations: Morphology and deformities
    • The hand in motion: Range of motion, biomechanics, and handwear design
    • Handwear fit and sizing
    • Hand and wrist landmarking and measuring
    • Designing for the hand and wrist: Conclusion

    Chapter 8. Designing for Foot and Ankle Anatomy

    • Foot bones and ankle joint

      • Foot bones and ankle joint related to footwear . . . Ankle joint footwear coverage . . . Rear shoe components . . . Mid-shoe components . . . Toe box/vamp shoe components . . . Sole of foot and sole of shoe

    • Ankle and foot joints, ligaments, and fascia
    • Foot "arches" and foot "dome"
    • Ankle and foot tendons and muscles
    • Nerves, blood vessels, and lymphatics of the ankle and foot
    • Foot skin and toenails
    • Foot variations: Morphology and deformities

      • Body mass effects . . . Gender differences . . . Foot deformities

    • The foot in motion: Range of motion, biomechanics, and footwear design
    • Footwear fit and sizing

      • Translating the human foot to a "last" . . . Footwear fit, sizes, and size systems

    • Foot and ankle landmarking and measuring
    • Designing for foot and ankle anatomy: Conclusion

    Chapter 9. Designing for whole body anatomy and function

    • Whole body wearable products

      • Products for protection from the environment, to protect the environment, and physiological effects of wearing whole-body products

    • Designing for total body anatomy: The static body

      • Static body characteristics—height and width/depth indicators . . . Posture—a static and dynamic characteristic . . . Aging effects on body height and posture

    • Designing for total body anatomy: The dynamic body

      • Gait—walking and running . . . Mechanized walking and gait—exoskeleton products . . . Documenting, analyzing, and translating extended positions for product design . . . Motion analysis tools

    • Wearable product testing: Manikins, digital human models, and humans
    • Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) space suit

      • Wearable products for space: Facilitating human body systems; EVA suit size and fit; EVA suit mobility

    • Conclusion: Designing for the human body

    Reference List


    Appendices A-H Landmarks and Measurements for Wearable Products

    • Appendix A. Landmarks and Measurements Foundation
    • Appendix B. Head and Neck Landmarks and Measurements
    • Appendix C. Upper Torso and Arm Landmarks and Measurements
    • Appendix D. Lower Torso and Leg Landmarks and Measurements
    • Appendix E. Waist/Waistline Landmarks and Measurements
    • Appendix F. Hand and Wrist Landmarks and Measurements
    • Appendix G. Foot and Ankle Landmarks and Measurements
    • Appendix H. Total Body Landmarks and Measurements




    Karen L. LaBat, PhD, is Horace T. Morse Distinguished Professor Emerita, College of Design, University of Minnesota. She was instrumental in establishing the Wearable Product Design Center and the Human Dimensioning© Laboratory at the University of Minnesota. Her research focus is product development for human health and safety and study of the body to improve function and fit of wearable products. Research funding sources include: National Science Foundation, 3M, U of MN Clinical and Translational Science Institute, U of MN Institute for Advanced Study, and others. She has published in Applied Ergonomics; Australasian Medical Journal; Ergonomics; Clothing and Textiles Research Journal; Journal of the Textile Institute; International Journal of Fashion Design, and Technology; and other journals. She was co-editor for the Clothing and Textiles Research Journal Focused Issue on Fashion and Health, co-editor of the Clothing and Textiles Research Journal Focused Issue on Research and Teaching in the 21st Century, and an associate editor for Fashion and Textiles—the Journal of the Korean Society of Clothing and Textiles, and served on the editorial board of the Journal for Health Design. She was co-chair of the U of MN, College of Design, Fashion and the Body 2016 Symposium. Her awards include: International Textiles and Apparel Association Distinguished Scholar, U of MN College of Design Outstanding Research Award, Lectra Innovation Award for Faculty Research, and U of MN College of Design Innovation and Mission Advancement Award. Dr. LaBat received the 2013 U of MN Horace T. Morse Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

    Karen S. Ryan, M.D., M.S. has been a Research Associate with the Human Dimensioning© Laboratory, University of Minnesota, since she completed her Masters of Science in Apparel in 2006, with a project on designing apparel for women with posture changes from osteoporosis. Her research grew from her longstanding interest in apparel design and her clinical and teaching practice as a specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R). Her clinical practice focused on musculoskeletal issues, electromyography (EMG), and neurological rehabilitation, with a strong emphasis on patient education. She has served on the faculty of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Minnesota Medical School, including as the Director of the Electromyography Service and as Residency Training Director. She has been an Oral Examiner for the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine. She has made numerous PM&R presentations on a wide range of topics and in many venues, from patient family education sessions to University of Minnesota Television to national PM&R and EMG meetings. She has presented her design and health research in local, national, and international meetings and published in the medical and apparel design literature.

    Illustrator Biography

    Le "Lettie" Wen graduated from Tsinghua University, China with a Masters of Literature. She began work on illustrations for this book as a graduate research assistant in the Human Dimensioning Laboratory© at the University of Minnesota. She received a master’s degree in Graphic Design from the University of Minnesota in 2017. Her graduate thesis, titled "Human Anatomy for Wearable Product Designers," combined knowledge from the fields of anthropometry and medical illustration. She developed a unique style to portray the interactions of the human body and a product. She plans to continue work as an illustrator, with an emphasis on anatomical illustration.

    "This book is a treasure trove for the functional designer, combining all the most pertinent information about body structure, body movement, and body function in one reference. But the book is also a valuable resource for the fashion designer. Every educated designer should read the first two chapters, but the sections on arm and shoulder anatomy and movement, on spinal variations and asymmetry of the body, on the mid-torso (the waist area), and many other sections are as relevant to fashion design as to functional design.
    One of the best features of this book is that it does not simplify or reduce issues to the ‘norm’, but introduces variation and the full range of body issues. Differences related to sex, age, and body shape and condition are discussed throughout the book. Who would know that not only the dimensions, but also the configuration of the rib cage varies between men and women? It does, and as the authors point out, this fact can impact the design of unisex garments.
    Last but not least, the explanation of the body from the point of view of the apparel designer has revealed many areas where research is needed, or where unwarranted assumptions have been made. For example, it seems that the neat ordered anatomical models of body structures placing the various organs in relationship to one another were developed from the study of prone cadavers. But the apparel designer is dealing with live bodies in a standing position, and in motion, in which case this neat ordering is not at all accurate. Repeatedly the authors point out that in the absence of studies that focus on the kinds of data needed by apparel designers, precise information is not available. There is potential for many dissertation projects outlined in this text. In illuminating the full complexity of the human body in reference to the job of the wearable product designer, the authors have performed an incalculable benefit to designers. As they state in the book when ‘designers go beyond surface observations of the human body to fully understand anatomy and body function – safe, fully functional and innovative products will result.’ Beyond this, using this book to mentor all our students, whether fashion or functional designers, to develop their designs through informed knowledge of the body will result in better and more fulfilled designers."
    ITAA June 2019 Newsletter