Samsung’s path to new design identity (1)
Design has long been at the center of all Samsung products, influencing not only their look and feel but also how they are built. Accordingly, Samsung’s approach to product design is constantly evolving. In recent years, Samsung has developed a new design identity—or design ethos—that places user experience at the center of design thinking.
Samsung’s new design identity is central to how the company is reinventing itself to create the products of the future. But the company’s design story actually began years ago.
Phase 1 (1996-2005): Balancing Reason & Feeling
Chairman Lee’s 1996 initiative prompted a major refreshment of Samsung’s brand, style and design. For the next four years, the company’s design efforts focused on what designers term ‘formative design.’ This is a product-oriented philosophy focused on making products thinner and more lightweight, and moved design and development away from purely functional design towards more distinctive aesthetic values that balance function with emotional appeal. This design effort also aimed to establish a more consistent ‘Samsung’ look and feel across the company’s product lines.
Phase 2 (2006-2010): Creating an Emotional Journey
As a result of the new direction in design, Samsung began making more systematic efforts to research consumer trends and needs. Three important user considerations began to consciously drive design thinking as a direct function of product development, and came to be considered essential for successful product design:
1. Desire: There should be an emotional attraction that pulls consumers into considering a product
2. Intrigue: The product design should intrigue consumers—both externally as they see it and internally as they are using it
3. Delight: Once consumers use a Samsung product, the product should resonate positively through the overall user experience it provides.
Phase 3 (2011–2015): Make it Meaningful
“Make it Meaningful” is Samsung’s new design that places the greatest importance on whether a design brings happiness and value to people and the world, rather than simply providing external beauty or raw functionality.
Today, design at Samsung has become a pre-requisite for product planning instead of a last-minute back-end job in the development process. Led directly by the CEO of the company, the design team works in concert with the company’s engineering, product planning and marketing departments. Design leads the way down the path to product development, and the application of cutting-edge technology follows.
Design concepts are now pioneered early in the process rather than retrofitted later; and Samsung designers have gone from acting primarily as stylists to becoming essential interpreters of user needs, and essential value facilitators in the product development process.
Design will continue to evolve as will technology and our world. Samsung’s new design will ensure not only satisfaction, but delight, for years to come.
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