High Quality Optics

CLIENT: Burris Optics

INDUSTRY: Commercial

SERVICES: Design, Engineering, Prototyping

Stepping into a new product category isn’t easy, especially when the competitive landscape is crowded with entrenched players. Since 1971, Burris Optics has been manufacturing high-quality hunting rifle scopes and wanted to leverage their extensive knowledge of optics to expand their customer base to include wildlife observers, naturalists, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

In partnering with Priority Designs, Burris envisioned creating a new line of binoculars and a spotting scope. The goal for the new products was to deliver on the Burris brand attributes of accuracy, durability, and innovation. These products also needed to maintain a compelling price point to earn their way into the display cases at retail.

Cover Image via Burris Optics.

Discovery Phase

The new products include a line of six optics across two price points: five binoculars and one spotting scope. These products feature functional details and aesthetics to reinforce Burris’ brand attributes of quality and dependability. The color choice helped create recognition and visibility in retail spaces. The Priority Designs team was able to build off our history in developing products for the outdoor category, such as kayak seating, kayak fishing, military protective gear, and firearms.

Priority Designs studied the competitive landscape prior to initial conceptual development, noting colorways, features, and price points. For a hands-on experience, the design team interacted with products and spoke with sales associates and consumers. This provided insights into the sales process and helped identify which product attributes were most important, uncovering opportunities for Burris to differentiate from competitors in price, aesthetic, and user experience.

Design Details

Following the discovery phase, Burris fine-tuned the opto-mechanical configuration and our engineering team documented it in CAD. Using this as an underlay, our initial 2D sketches explored form, and the use of texture at various touchpoints and colorways. Selected concepts were transitioned into 3D CAD to refine aesthetics and resolve design and interface details.

To improve grip and stability during use, a unique texture was identified as a signature element.  Viewing a texture on screen is one thing, but feeling it is crucial. Our in-house prototyping team printed prototypes with different depths and spacing to optimize the pattern.

Aesthetically, it is familiar to patterns found on existing products such as the checkering on firearm stocks and nylon webbing. The color choice, a tan “flat dark earth,” as opposed to black, became a signature element of the design. The color choice is popular among hunters and tactical enthusiasts but also works with outdoor environments where naturalists and wildlife observers use these products.

Images via Burris Optics (top right and bottom left and right images)


Priority Designs helped Burris expand their footprint in the outdoor optics market with the introduction of 6 new products. The designs featured functional details and aesthetics that deliver on the Burris brand and separate their products from the competition. The Burris team worked hard to ensure the design intent was maintained in final production, and the optical components met or exceeded expectations.

The results were a total of six products across two price points:

  • The Droptine series: binoculars offered in both 8x and 10x magnification with 42mm objective lenses.
  • The Signature HD series: 3 binoculars with premium optics, an open bridge construction for improved
    optical parallelism, and comes in 8x42mm, 10x42mm, and a 12x50mm for improved long-range and low light
    capabilities. This line also includes a 20-60x magnification spotting scope featuring a unique integrated
    attachment point for a Burris red dot optic, allowing rapid target acquisition.
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