KITCHEN ELECTRICS / VISUAL BRAND LANGUAGE - NORTH AMERICAN PRODUCTS
Panasonic is one of the world’s most iconic and recognizable brands. The Japan-based corporation wanted to solidify its place in the US kitchen electrics market through a bold design language that honors the parent brand while developing a distinctive aesthetic and interaction design that will carry their brand into the future.
Expertise leveraged: Interaction design, Industrial design, Visual brand language development, Design strategy, Ethnography.
The Challenge: Panasonic products were largely Americanized versions of those sold in Japan. Panasonic North America wanted to develop products and a unique style catered to North American culture. The partner had to be able to lead numerous OEM manufacturers to deliver high-quality products that hit budgets and ensure speed-to-market.
The Outcome: As Panasonic’s North American innovation partner, we developed the foundational visual brand language and first line of kitchen products designed in and for the North American market. This language was created through the development of a family of kitchen electrics products, including three-pricing tiers of countertop ovens, a multi-function mini processor, and numerous accessories. These products and the consistent and cohesive visual brand language were unveiled at IHHS 2017 and CES 2018.
OUR DESIGN PROCESS
Deconstruct the goals, needs, and constraints of the brand
Looking at the near term and stretch goals of Panasonic North America to align the new product and language exploration to the growth goals of the brand.
Develop DESIGN tools to focus on what’s most important
To focus the work of the team, we took a deep dive into customer needs to create tools to use in the process of design. These tools act as a constant reminder of what matters most to potential customers. Design Personas act as both an empathetic lens to look through when creating the designs as well as in the initial validation of design decisions.
Translate early stage developmental prototypes to feed THE NEW language
We transformed existing Panasonic products into prototypes in order to align them with the product language and vision. These prototypes also helped us more tactically design around pain-points like handles getting too hot.
VISUAL BRAND LANGUAGE APPLIED
CUTTING-EDGE Countertop Oven
Every design decision revolved around the end-user, from proprietary Insta-Heat technology, to smart temperature sensing, to easy clean accessories. Balance pushed the limits of the technology while preserving manufacturability within in the price points to provide a unique, enjoyable and effective experience for the customer.
Multifunction Mini Processor
With an understanding of home cook’s needs from a mini processor, we designed the appliance with high-quality touch points, aluminum housing, glass carafe, storage lid, spatula, and juicing capability, to deliver the look and feel of high-quality with additional features that provide the value of two appliances in one.
ADAPTIVE SHABU SHABU
With key components of Panasonic’s brand language in mind, we set out to expand the product line to include appliances more traditional in international markets. Features like the brushed stainless steel exterior directly relate to the Panasonic language while incorporating a straight-forward and clear front-facing interface.
LOW-PROFILE FISH COOKER
While considering manufacturing and cultural constraints, we adapted another one of Panasonic’s Japanese products, the “Teppanyaki”, to the North American market. Focusing on maintaining low-profile and straight-forward product functionality, we integrated key Panasonic North American brand elements such as the stainless steel wrap and prominent easy-to-read interface.
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René Polin | Founder & President