Re-Thinking HP’s Approach to Design

Someone once said, “Looking good is half the battle.” While you may not completely agree, we all know that appearances matter. At Hewlett-Packard, we’ve undergone a massive design transformation to make our products thinner and lighter. Because really -- who can’t afford to lose a couple inches every now and then?

Every day in every single one of our design labs around the world, we continue to think about how to make our products more compelling. Recently, we’ve started standardizing the design and features on our notebooks and tablets. The effort supports brand recognition while lowering our manufacturing costs. You can see some of our new design standardization in the ProBook notebook that we launched earlier this month. Among other changes, we’re standardizing materials, colors, the location of the power button and how we display our logo.

We’re not only concentrating on how our products look. We’re also approaching product design holistically, considering the customer’s full sensory experience.

Is the product visually appealing? What does it feel like in customers’ hands? What quality of sound does it produce? Ultimately, our goal is for our products to be iconic and memorable. We aim to design innovative products that stand out, appeal to customers’ senses and produce an emotional connection.

Innovation, of course, doesn’t only come out of the research from our labs, it’s also found in the insights and experiences of our customers. Our goal is to put innovation in play by identifying unmet customer needs and integrating them into our products. Whether we’re having conversations with customers, placing products in homes or conducting research through our customer insights group, we spend a lot of time listening and learning.

This is where our global scale and depth becomes a huge asset. Good design is more than aesthetics or beauty -- it’s the graceful marriage of design with new technology. Our scale means that—once we identify an opportunity to innovate—we have the capabilities and resources to implement the innovation into our products.

While radical design changes won’t (and shouldn’t) be sudden, we will continually evolve our designs based on user feedback, sound research, and emerging technology trends. In this time of tectonic change, we’re seeing major developments in manufactured metals, blurring form factors and a demand for hybrid products that are smaller and more mobile. These products let customers easily create content instead of simply consuming it.

Our designs will account for all of these factors and more. Stay tuned for future updates on our design strategy in 2013 and beyond.