Inside the Design: Samsung’s Innovative Printers

on July 31, 2013
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Over the years, Samsung Electronics has received a number of recognitions from leading design award organizations such as iF, IDEA, and Red Dot, yet the awards ceremony at the 2013 iF Design Award held in Munich, Germany, felt all the more significant to Principal Designer Jeong and the Printing Solutions Business Design Group. Not only did Samsung receive 39 awards across all product categories, but it received two gold prizes, one of which was awarded to the A4 color laser printer (CLP-415)/multifunction printer (CLX-4195) Series.


2013 iF Design Award ceremony


The occasion marked the first time in the laser printer industry where a company was awarded the gold prize at the iF Design Award, and it signified a change in industry perspective toward Samsung Electronics’ printer design. Above all, it demonstrated Samsung’s first step toward creating a new value for the printing solutions business.



Changing perspective toward printer design        


In the past, Samsung’s printing solutions were developed around the needs of businesses as traditional OA devices. As such, there was a major emphasis on product performance, such as the printout speed, print volume and print quality rather than improving design or the user experience.


A4 color laser printer CLP-415


“The general practice with printer design was to follow trends. When a good trend was created in the home appliance industry, we came up with a product concept that was based on this trend. When the Bordeaux TV was trending, the sparkling, black glossy finishing was impressive. This determined the CMF (Color, Material, Finishing) of printers back then. Rather than defining a design philosophy for our printers, we changed our designs in accordance with the circumstances of the times. We eventually recognized this as an issue. This marked the beginning of a new challenge.

a happy family


In 2012, members of the design group reached a consensus that OA devices should provide greater value to consumers. This meant developing a product identity that embodied performance, design and user experience—a premium, timeless design that could deliver lasting, quality performance and value.



Defining the identity of Samsung’s printers


split in interface and box concept


A simple yet sophisticated design was developed in order to contrast the mechanical complexity of the printer. The printer was divided into two parts: the top section that users interact with, and the bottom section that stores paper and the printer’s engine. Warm brown and light gray colors were used to further distinguish these two sections of the printer. Additionally, for easy control, an organic and smooth design was used for the interface area, and a neat and functional design was used for the storage area. This design concept was called ‘Split in Interface & Box.’


Detailed consideration was also made to enhance user experience. The CLX-9301 Series, which is an A3 color multifunction printer, partially applied a smartphone UI to the LCD panel, and in general the team tried to make the printer’s functionality similar to experiences users had with their smartphones.. Much effort was also put into the color scheme of the screen and the shapes of icons. Additionally, a 15-degree angle was applied to the panel and a seven-degree angle to the stacker, from which paper is taken out. These angles were determined as the most ideal angles based on user behavior.


CLX-9301 Series

This signifies a transformation in OA devices in which they become the user’s partner by understanding the user and going beyond machines that are simply placed in one small corner of an office

Further, the team members analyzed office environment trends in Korea, the U.S., Japan and Europe to learn how they can better enhance user’s experiences with smart printers. The results showed that smart printers were in line with current office environment trends, and that office environments in the near future will emphasize communication, cooperation and connection. In line with these findings, Samsung’s printers will serve as “smart partners” that enhance the user experience.


Korea, the U.S., Japan and Europe


The design group defined the form and CMF strategy to create a unique identity for Samsung’s printers. In July 2012, the group simultaneously unveiled 9 types of printers and MFPs, including an A4 color laser printer (CLP-415) and multifunction printer (CLX-4195). Design experts all across the globe recognized that the group was taking on a new challenge of delivering greater value to customers by reflecting design and user experience in the product.


A4 color laser printer (CLP-415) and multifunction printer (CLX-4195)


Bringing innovation and creativity to life through printer design


“Releasing a product with a unique identity changed the nature of the organization. Designs, which were simply regarded as the exterior of printers, became a key strategy of the team. There is an active movement to gauge the future of the printer business based on design. For example, the Printing Solutions Business Design Group actively takes part in Samsung Electronics’ design strategy meetings, which are held twice a year, where design group members are exploring the future of printers based on advanced design and creative ideas



What attracted the attention of many participants at the design strategy meeting was a printer with an eco-friendly design. Named Origami, the printer was created to answer this question: “Is there a way to recycle, in a more productive way, paper that was used for printing?” With the Origami, there was such a way. The exterior mechanical materials of the Origami printer are recycled paper rather than plastic. The output tray, which serves as a support for paper after printing, can be made by simply cutting paper. When it is time to replace the paper cover, it is recycled again to create new paper or a new paper cover.



“The exterior of all printers cannot be made of paper—there is no need to do so; but this is a factor that is worth considering for a personal printer that costs less than US$ 100~200.  When it is time to replace a cartridge, customers consider buying a new printer. With Origami, exterior material costs were reduced to result in a decrease in the overall unit cost. If needed, we can print on the exterior of the corrugated cardboard for promotional effects. We created a paper cover that reflects the various tastes of consumers based on low costs. It also ensures eco-friendly consumption.

mate printer


Similar to Origami, the team designed the Mate printer out of corrugated cardboard. A pair of boards of similar size is coupled to store the internal engine unit based on a sliding method. The design allows users to personalize their printers by decorating the boards with their choice of colors and patterns. In addition to being eco-friendly, Mate has low production costs because the boards have similar specifications and remove the need for molded design production.


clip printer


Another eco-friendly idea that was suggested at the design strategy meeting was ‘Clip,’ which removes the need for screws due to its structure. Compressed PP, which is mainly used for kitchen containers, was used as the material in order to minimize connection. Compressed PP is a plastic material that can be folded. It minimizes clip connections and considerably streamlines the manufacturing process.


clip printer


Futuristic products are thought to require a more complex development process with elaborate communication strategies before they can be successful in the marketplace. However, the Origami, Mate, and Clip printers were effective in communicating the creative, innovative competencies of Samsung’s printers to all members of the Printing Solutions Business Design Group and attendees of the design strategy meeting.



Samsung’s futuristic printers receive the Gold Prize at IDEA 


samsung origami, mate, clip printers


The creative designs and ideas reflected in Samsung Electronics’ printers received additional recognition from world-leading design experts. At the 2013 IDEA Awards, three Samsung Electronics printers – Origami, Mate, and Clip – received the gold prize in the concept category. Unlike iF and Red Dot, IDEA is classified into the concept category and mass production category. In the concept category, the product and industry’s design strategy and innovativeness are evaluated. The A4 color laser printer (CLP-415)/multifunction printer (CLX-4195) series that received the gold prize at the 2013 iF Design Award received a bronze in the mass production category at the 2013 IDEA Awards.


Members of the Printing Solutions Business Design Group are preparing for the future printer market based on innovative designs and creative ideas. Their potentials were proven by the receipt of renowned design innovation awards in the industry. The unique identity and innovativeness of Samsung Electronics’ printers will shape the future of the Printing Solutions Business Design Group and create another value in the market

Inside the Design Samsung's Innovative Printers


* All functionality features, specifications and other product information provided in this document including, but not limited to, the benefits, design, pricing, components, performance, availability, and capabilities of the product are subject to change without notice or obligation.

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