CES 2013 Design Aftermath
As an addendum to the great CES blog post from some of my fellow designers at Whipsaw, here are some additional thoughts about CES 2013 that address some of the extra design-related trends or issues not covered in our Whipsaw entry.
There were some interesting design motifs that could be found lurking amongst the debris of the usual Apple imitators at the show. One trend: angles & facets. Although not exactly new, there was a renewed undercurrent of the use of triangular patterns in venting or graphics and topographical angles to give products a faceted appearance.
Chamfered Boxes & Pills
It’s classic and friendly. The chamfered box. And it was in abundance at this year’s CES, especially in the portable speaker category. Astonishingly, there were also a lot of pills in Vegas, too. In addition to the popular and thoughtfully named Beats Pill portable speaker, the giant CE manufacturers were also fighting for dominance in the pill-shaped extruded product category.
Invasion of Oranges, Blues & Greens
Almost as if every company got together and said, “Ok, just to make sure the customer is super-confused, we’re going to offer basically the same products in exactly the same colors.” Makes you wonder about the value of color forecasting.
Materials as a Differentiator for Commodity Products
By the time Friday rolled around, my temples hurt from trying on the astonishing amount of over-the-ear headphones on display. And even the most discerning audiophile is going to struggle determining sound quality after getting blasted by “Billie Jean” during TOSY’s dancing mRobo show for the 20th time (okay, so this was voluntary). With headphones, companies know they’re in a hot market. It’s the must have mobile accessory, and interestingly enough, getting smaller or thinner is not a priority here. Making a statement is. So companies are turning to design philosophies of material authenticity or honesty to separate themselves from the crowd.
Designing for the Ecosystem
Add this phrase to your design buzzword bingo card. Companies understand the power of what Apple achieved: the loss of definition as to where your life ends and the use of their products begins. The company becomes a part of your life ecosystem. But in order to do this successfully, they have to offer products and services that coexist harmoniously with each other - which is hard enough for decision-by-committee companies. Unfortunately, each product or service in the ecosystem also has to add legitimate value to the user, which is where the real struggle begins. CES witnessed baby steps being taken by a lot of companies to begin the process of building a consumer ecosystem.
If you can’t use your tablet to text while driving, why not use it to control your car?
One of the more interesting methods of consumer validation I’ve seen.
3D glasses where necessary for experiencing nearly everything in the LG booth.
An ultrabook tree in the Intel booth.
Whirlpool’s take on the future fireplace.
One of my golden rules as dog owner is to never attach anything to him that would be embarrassing if I had to wear it myself, but seeing as how he’s maniacally active I’m sorely tempted by this rig.
How thin can a display get? As thin as air.
A very nicely responsive large screen display.
I don’t think Audi even cares what the convention is about, they just show up with cool cars and everyone is pleased.