Design innovation builds Samsung printers

on June 28, 2012
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With the release of a number of new products, Samsung’s A4 color laser printers and all-in-one printers, implementing fast printing speed, live image, and user convenience, deserve a closer look. Today, we meet Seungwook Jeong, Principal Designer at the IT Solutions Business department of Samsung Electronics, and hear about the printer design story, including the design philosophy of Samsung, to create most satisfactory printer for the users.



Designer Seungwook Jeong, with over 10 years of designing experience at the IT Solutions Business department, is the perfect person to ask about heightening the design value of PC and printer products. Let’s hear the design story of printer that can provide values.



Creating design innovations


Seven new products have recently been released for A4 color laser printer and all-in-one printers, all with much improved design and user convenience.



From the design perspective, an Integration Design Identity strategy was applied to create design innovations, from corporate all-in-one printers to personal printers, and significantly upgrade the Samsung printer designs.



New design identity of Samsung told


The new product design at this time provides values well beyond the existing products in form, color, and usability. Originality was secured through the concept of ‘Ergonomic Design,’ which is to be a mid/long-term design identity strategy


Ultimately, it will be shaped to be a design improving the user experience value; based on such philosophy, the design identity of Samsung Printer will be fashioned. Creating identity is certainly no easy matter. I think that it is not the identity made to fit the appearance, but the value with meaningful innovation that is the true identity.



What is a good design for Head Designer Seungwook Jeong?


The existing Samsung printers have had a high technological standard including printing quality, and the distinction of unit product was also outstanding, winning prestigious global design awards every year. Now, more focuse was on the integrated design identity that could make one recognize a Samsung printer, even from a distance.


I think that a good design should have the harmony of continuity, like a DNA that does not change over time and difference, a killer point beyond the original product. The Coke bottle design completed in 1915 has the harmony of usability when it is held in your hand, and the esthetic value is still loved today – it’s a timeless design.



Creating identity of Samsung printer


This new product is characteristic of simple colors and lines based on the design philosophy of ‘Simple is beautiful, Simple suits everywhere.’ It promotes style that doesn’t change over time, and makes it possible to recognize that it’s a Samsung printer and all-in-one printer from anywhere.


A printer, once released, stays in the market for a long time. It is not easily replaceable. If the design changed every time there was a new product, there would be no design identity, and there will be products with different designs exposed to the market, and the product identity and corporate identity will become confused. It was not easy to have this kind of opportunity where many products were released in a series, and the design team wanted to create the identity of Samsung printer.


It is very significant that the new products at this time were designed so that they can be visually recognized as Samsung. There was company-wide support for such an initiative so that the integrated design identity of Samsung printer could be completed.



Thinking about essence of printer product


Recently, there are more and more products whose design processes involve design first and then functions being added later. Especially the fashion items whose exteriors are important such as smartphones or mobile laptops exhibit such trend. On the other hand, printers are more strongly analog, and were designed based on the design philosophy that “form follows function.”



The new Samsung printer design concept is ‘split between Interface and Box.’ It divides the interface and storage partWhen we first began the project, we had lots of thoughts on the essence of the printers.



We approached from what the essence of a printer is, and found that a printer is divided into the interface part that interacts with the user at the top, and the box part that stores the engine and papers at the bottom. This is the essence of a printer. Such essence was developed into a design concept. The interface part and box part were divided in terms of form and color, which is the biggest characteristic.



The interface part at the top which the user handles and takes out the resulting material was applied with organic design for easier use, and even the comfortable angle of hand for holding the paper was considered in the design. On the other hand, the box part where the engine and papers are stored were completed with a clean modeling.



A reassuring warmth


The thoughts on the essence continued from the formative aspects to the exterior colors. We heard the story about how the thoughts of the users were considered to choose just one color.



When you first see the product, what you recognize first is the color, before the form. Especially with IT goods, personal users apply various paint colors and materials to express the color more beautifully.”


But, printers are OA goods and the raw material costs cannot be ignored.  It is difficult to use paint spray or expensive metal materials, so usually they are just finished with the resin color injected in the mold. You can see that the existing products are mostly finished with the easily accessible achromatic black or grey colors. As a result, they are not well distinguished. That’s why there are so many similar products in the market.


The design team wanted to express a printer color that was uniquely Samsung. Under the condition of finishing with the inject resin color and not the paint spray of various expressions, it was not easy to put personality into OA goods, but we wanted to change the paradigm so far.



Such effort first began with the color research for the environment using the printer.


As a result of research, the design team obtained information on the trend of future office environments (wall color, furniture, partition) breaking away from cold, cool types and moving towards the warm kinds. The brown and black coloring applied on the top of the new product is the application of our ‘Smart & Stylish’ color concept, which matches the environment in which the printer is placed, and we tried to deliver the image of a partner stimulating warm sensibility. The color name is also ebony brown in an attempt to apply a warm character away from the existing dull achromatic. Here, icy grey was added to pursue a unique combination of warm and cold.


Such warm colors are expected to bring a warmer expectations rather than cold feeling for machinery, providing satisfaction to the users.


Another characteristic is the high product quality. The designs at this time were applied with the modeling where the exterior surface covers the inside by thickness not used in OA devices. First, the development team complained of the difficulty in such modeling structure, but eventually the development was implemented as in the original design.


Moreover, the gap where piece and piece meet was tightly finished to enhance the product quality, and a pattern was nicely applied for a luxurious finish. The small details with the touch of a master artisan come together for the birth of a product with a high degree of completion.



What does Designer Seungwook Jeong say about ergonomic design?



A printer requires a lot of ergonomic considerations. You open the cassette to put in the paper, momentarily manipulate a number of function keys on the panel, and pick up the completed result. Also, when it runs out of ink, you need to open the door and replace the cartridge. There’s also the complexity of multiple users using it together.


The action of manipulating the device exhibits many areas of activity that cannot be found in other devices. So we thought that the product itself should satisfy various conditions from the most appropriate angle to height for the user. From those in wheelchairs to tall people, the area of activity should be considered. This is called universal design.



The height of the control panel for the new product is within 1,100mm from the floor for strengthened user convenience. This number was applied by extracting the sample size of various people within an office, being a height that accommodates usability regardless of physical disability, difference in body height, or gender.


The function keys on the control panel, including number keys, are largely in need function-wise, but the action scenario of operation order was considered to place the keys from those with highest use frequencies sequentially, and the readability on the typography was also improved. This was to make it easier for the user to understand and use it. Colors were added to the color/mono recognition button to enhance the user convenience.


Also, the angle of the control panel was 15 degrees for convenience in manipulation while lifting the hand. Such user considerations were also applied to the stacker from where the papers are taken, which was made with the ideal angle of 7 degrees, increasing the user convenience.



Creating product that can bring good values to user!



Seungwook Jeong says that the recent design trend is not adding, but removing. Complex forms and functions shorten the design lifespan, but clean forms and simplicity in use lead to sustainable design, and the UI that does not need a manual to operate brings joy to the user.


He adds that the design that breaks from the frame of the existing method and form and leaves only the essence is the design philosophy he pursues. Moreover, he says that the design at a corporation should not be just a fancy work, but a product that adds value to the user.


You can never say that a costly design is a good design. The unchanging truth under various complex circumstances is user satisfaction. I believe a design that makes the user feel the experienced value will be loved.



Apart from the perspective of the manufacturer, the designer team considers how much the user is satisfied, match the eye-level with the user through service design, provide design value to the user, think about how to foster trust in Samsung even through the passage of time – it’s all for the user after all. This product captures countless hours of creative anxiety and agony on form, color, usability, and ergonomics. In future, the designer team will keep striving to create a product that could bring values to the users.



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