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Global coordination produces new design language for Samsung

Global coordination produces new design language for Samsung

COMPANY: Design Continuum Inc.

LOCATION: Boston, Milan, and Seoul

SERVICES PROVIDED: Mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, electro-mechanical design, medical device engineering, optical engineering, fluidics, industrial design, branding, design research and strategy

PROJECT OBJECTIVE: Create an innovative design language for the first in a new line of compact, 35mm cameras for Samsung, the world's 11th largest corporation. Handled by Samsung Techwin in Korea, the project included the design of the new Samsung Pronta 1200QD camera, remote control, case, and product packaging.

The camera's design language needed to create an emotional link with non-technical consumers, appeal to their visual and tactile aesthetics and provide for ease-of-use.

DESIGN FUNCTIONS PERFORMED: Industrial design, conceptual engineering, structural packaging design

CRITICAL ISSUES: Critical issues: One of the primary challenges involved reducing the camera's overall size, since user research showed that a smaller size greatly enhanced consumer perceptions.

The camera's external dimensions depended largely on the layout of internal components. To address this issue, Continuum re-aligned the internal components and encompassed them with a single, fluid surface to achieve a mono-volumetric effect. Continuum also recessed the zoom lens that typically protrudes from the front surface of most products in this category to eliminate having a technical, heavy look. When the Samsung Pronta's zoom lens is retracted, it is slightly submerged on the camera's surface. This adds to the camera's sleekness.

THE PROJECT: A team effort between the Milan and Seoul offices of Continuum, this project represents the ideal fusion of an intimate, local understanding of client needs and a global perspective that uncovered new opportunities. Functioning as the client liaison, Design Continuum Korea created and managed the program, including schedule and budget planning, periodic design phase involvement, client reviews and day-to-day coordination between Continuum and Samsung. Design Continuum's Milan office provided initial concept development, client reviews and design refinement through final aesthetic model-making documentation. Throughout the design development, the Milan team used 2D and 3D CAD models to adjust the position and alignment of internal components and to cover them with the external surface.

Continuum worked closely with Samsung to understand the functional relationship between each of the camera's control functions and the LCD display. The firm recommended the user interface scheme, including navigation keys and the location and position of the LCD display, zoom lens, shutter button, and other components. Continuum angled the display at a slight incline to improve the consumer's eye/hand coordination during operation. This in turn facilitates one-hand operation of the camera's primary functions. Design Continuum Korea created a silicon-based soft cover and forms for molded-pulp structural packaging in PRO/Engineer. Since Samsung used the same platform, files were communicated easily with the client.

At the end of each project phase, both Continuum teams met with Samsung in Milan. As the project moved through Samsung's mechanical design process, Design Continuum Korea conducted design refinement and implemented design-related details.

TOOLS AND COMPONENTS EMPLOYED: This project involved PRO/Engineer, SolidWorks 2000, AutoCAD, Rhino, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Design Continuum Italia worked in Rhino and later generated a PRO/Engineer file at the client's request. They also delivered a series of 2-D CAD files to the client to further explain specific design details. The camera's remote control was completed in SolidWorks 2000 and delivered to the client in an IGES format. Since Continuum used this exact file to cut the tool, the communication of the design was extremely efficient.

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