San Francisco, US – 4 November, 2008 – Smart Design, one of the world's leading consumer product design firms, has achieved 'First of Category' success with one of its biggest clients, Hewlett Packard. Smart Design's development of the HP Photosmart personal printers set the benchmark for the first truly portable photo printers on the market. Hewlett Packard not only entered into a new market but, in effect, created the market as well – by producing portable products that combine up-to-the-minute technology with simple, user-friendly features.
Digital printing in the home has grown significantly since 2000 – from just 0.4 billion prints in 2000 to 4.4 billion in 2005, and of the 12.9 billion prints made in 2007, over 5 billion of those were made on home PC printers or small camera printers. Hewlett Packard and Smart Design led an in-depth review of the marketplace to discover who had become the target 'home printing' audience. The results revealed that the way in which people wanted to print their photos had evolved, but also – and most significantly – the target market had dramatically changed.
Tom Dair, president and founder of Smart Design, explained: "At first, what appealed to the 'gadget guy' in the family was state-of-the-art technology printing that allowed him to spend hours downloading, adapting and producing quality images. This meant that the design surrounding printers had, until recently, followed the notion that the more technical, functional and complex, the more desirable they became to men.
"However, the role of photography within the home evolved into a cost-effective and fun activity that everyone wants to get involved with. The target audience of HP’s new personal printers took a dramatic U-turn and significantly expanded – not only towards the female members of the family – particularly Mums – but also towards the young and old. It was essential for us to understand the demands of the target consumers because we were preparing to enter into a unique market – which can be risky. We had to create a balance between great technology and a user-friendly design," concluded Tom Dair.
What the critics thought
When the first HP Photosmart printer hit the market in 2002, Walt Mossberg reviewer at The Wall Street Journal, analysed what the photo printing evolution meant for the consumer. "[HP's] little photo printers churn out snapshot-size prints directly from a camera or a memory card, without involving a computer or software at all. These tiny printers have become so popular that people even bring them to parties to print pictures of the revelry right on the spot."
Over the years, HP's Photosmart portable printer line witnessed "me-too" competitors moving into the personal printing space. However, HP worked with Smart Design to continually evolve the line both through design and advancing technology. In addition to consumer praise, the products have won many prestigious awards, including the BusinessWeek/IDSA annual design award, and, with five current printers on the market, HP has retained a huge market share.
Smart Design continues to strengthen clients' exploration of new market territory. Recent successful first of category launches include the popular, simplified video camcorders, Flip Video Ultra and Mino, and the NeatReceipts and NeatDesk personal scanning systems. Smart Design's efforts to fully understand each product's end-user is what proves to be a lynch-pin for success in these design 'firsts'.
About Smart Design
Smart Design has been turning insight and innovation into successful consumer experiences for over 25 years. The company's approach integrates product development, interactive experiences, brand communication, and strategic insights to ensure winning design solutions. From its pioneering Universal Design collaboration with OXO International, developing its renowned line of kitchen tools, to its work with leading multi-national companies including HP, Microsoft, Lexar and Acer, developing user-friendly electronics and humanizing technology, Smart Design creates products that truly connect with the consumer. Smart Design has offices in New York, San Francisco and Barcelona. Please visit www.smartdesignworldwide.com for more information or contact:
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