Posted by: Graham Sadtler
First of II parts. Click here for Part II.
How does the design process start at Thermador, and where do we gain our inspiration from? As a member of Thermador’s Design Team, those are the questions I aim to answer today.
Before we even put pencil to paper, we start by gathering information from many contact points — such as trend spotting, talking to our trade partners and conducting consumer research. This all serves as the foundation for our design process.
Thermador’s Design Team gathers design trends from Kitchen Design & Architecture, as well as from other industries outside of home appliances. We attend trade shows for the kitchen & bath, furniture and architecture industries, which help us align our appliance designs with trends in the home — especially in the kitchen. We also spot trends in the consumer electronics industry so we can keep up on the latest technological developments and new types of user interfaces that can be incorporated into our appliances. The auto design and fashion industries are also leading design fields that we follow, but it is important for us to funnel design trends in these areas: these industries change yearly or seasonally, whereas at Thermador we design appliances to be timeless in the home.
It’s also important for us to cultivate relationships with appliance retailers, kitchen designers and other trade partners. Retailers who interact with customers daily have great insight into what our consumers really desire when shopping for appliances.
Because Thermador emphasizes designing products that are geared toward the culinary enthusiast, we have seen an increased importance in conducting consumer research not only in a market-research setting, but also directly in our users’ kitchens. This contextual-research methodology gives us a picture into people’s daily interactions with their appliances and how we can make these experiences even better. It can also lead to some very insightful and sometimes unexpected results. This is why it’s important for us to not only study design trends, but to really delve into how our users interact with our appliances. With this knowledge we can continually improve the Thermador experience.
We then bring all these touch points together, and this is the start the of design process.
Stay tuned for Part II (August 9) where I’ll discuss how we transfer all of these inputs into design concepts, the collaborative process with our marketing and engineering departments, and how we decide which design concepts make it into the market.
–Graham Sadtler, Thermador Design Manager