Designer says companies take unnecessary risks by failing to connect with their female consumers

  • Insights to be presented at DMI Europe design conference will help alleviate guesswork and hunches in product development
  • Proven strategies on designing for women while creating products that appeal to a wide audience
  • Manufacturers shouldn't take an unnecessary gamble by not incorporating a female perspective in their products and services
  • High resolution image available here
New York, US – 12th March 2009 – Long gone are the times when women were considered the 'weaker' sex. Women in the US, Japan and the EU make up one of the world's largest economies. For example, the spending influence of US women is vast, accounting for more than 80 per cent of money spent on products and services. However, too often companies take unnecessary risks in the product development process by failing to consider the needs of this underserved but powerful group.

Agnete Enga has worked with multi-national consumer product companies to develop methodologies that eliminate guesswork and hunches when designing products that appeal to women. She is a senior industrial designer at world-renowned consultancy Smart Design and co-founder of the Femme Den, a group dedicated to understanding the complex issues of gender and design.

To encourage companies to take advantage of this business opportunity and to best utilise their development dollars in this fragile economy, Enga is giving a talk called "HOW TO PLEASE A WOMAN" to the executives in attendance at the DMI Design/Management Europe 13 Conference on April 1, 2009 in Milan, Italy.

During its three day run at La Triennale di Milano, Design Museum, the renowned DMI Conference will focus on "Facing/Changing Realities" and how to confront the business and innovation challenges companies face in these difficult times.

While gender roles have transformed greatly over the years, women are still constantly adapting to products and services that were not designed with them in mind. Companies often rely on one-dimensional assumptions when it comes to determining what will appeal to women. But those willing to invest in the complex work of understanding gender differences, and then making the right decisions in developing their products, will find success in the marketplace. Smart business strategy, right?

"Yes," says Enga. "In these difficult economic times, businesses cannot afford to overlook a consumer segment that is essentially half the population. Companies and designers must make the effort to include a female perspective, which results in better, more satisfying products for everyone."

She further explains: "Men and women have different physical builds and psychological needs, which affect how we interact with products, and how we value them. Understanding these differences, as well as the similarities, is vital for successful design and for winning products."

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About Agnete Enga:

Agnete Enga is a senior industrial designer at Smart Design, a multi-disciplinary design consultancy. Originally from Norway, Agnete brings a unique set of eyes to each design problem. She has guided projects in the areas of consumer electronics, fashion, and kitchen products. Clients she has worked with in the past include OXO, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Nike. She has won multiple design awards and her work has been published in Time Magazine and Fast Company. Agnete holds a bachelors degree in Industrial Design from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and is one of the founding members of the Femme Den. 

About Smart Design:
Smart Design has been turning insight and innovation into successful consumer experiences for almost 30 years. 90 per cent of their designs have been successfully brought to market across diverse industries. 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, Ford and Acer, developing user-friendly electronics and technology, Smart Design creates products that truly connect with consumers. Smart Design has offices in New York, San Francisco and Barcelona. (

About Femme Den:
The Femme Den is an internal movement at Smart Design dedicated to studying gender through design. Through independent research and expertise they enable clients to gain a deeper understanding of how men and women approach products and experiences. They believe that designing with ideas and methodologies that appeal to women, designers can devise solutions that are more appealing to everyone. The Femme Den was founded 3 years ago by designers Agnete Enga (Norway), Gina Reimann (U.K), Erica Eden (U.S.A) and Yvonne Lin (U.S.A). (

For more information please contact:
Mercedes Coats
Marketing Communications Manager
Tel: +1 212 784 4052

Manuela Whittaker
The PressOffice – PR for Smart Design
Tel: +44(0)1780 721433

Aldo deJong
Smart Design European Office
Tel: +34 935 846 615

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