Question: How can we identify a product's brand through its visual language?
The objective of this group project was to conduct research about a certain brand and its characteristics and apply our findings to design a faucet. Our group designed a faucet using the famed brand OXO.
"OXO is dedicated to providing innovative consumer products that make everyday living easier. We study people—lefties and righties, male and female, young and old—interacting with products and we identify opportunities for meaningful improvement. Our thoughtful, “question everything” process and relentless attention to detail uncover the best solutions for life’s everyday tasks."
- OXO, on their philosophy
We began by doing a thorough analysis of OXO. This consisted of looking into the brand's history, philosophy, existing products and target demographics to get a feel for the brand's identity. Analyzing the existing products was paramount in finding the iconic brand language through form, materials and color.
To analyze OXO's products we scoured through the online catalogs of OXO's products under all their categories and brands. In order to get a better impression however, we purchased a couple of OXO products to get the full physical experience.
OXO's "X-Tapered" Form
A subtle detail that we found during product analysis was this slight X-shaped taper that most OXO appliances have in their form factors. We wanted to consider this when designing the body of our faucet.
Since OXO's brand was built upon the fundamentals of ergonomics and usability, some of our ideations utilized unique methods of operation for the faucet for improved usability.
Control Schemes and Heuristics
We had many lengthy discussions about what method of control was best. We eliminated any non-ambidextrous method of operation out of consideration and most designs that had separate controls for each temperature. To aid our discussions around how users would operate the faucet, we purchased a set of Legos to construct prototypes with moving parts.
The T or the Lever?
Two of our leading designs for the control mechanism were a T-shaped control and a lever-and-turn style control. Both of these were attempts to make it easier for the user to turn on the water both if their hands were clean or if their hands were dirty or full. After having participants test our prototypes, we decided that the control schemes were radically different from traditional controls, thus breaking the faucet heuristic that users would be familiar with which would not fit with OXO's brand. We ended up determining the most accessible method of operation that was already in existence and made adjustments for usability accordingly, such as providing more space between the handle and the tap and finding a good angle for the water to leave the spout.
After thoroughly reviewing the two different control schemes we decided that utilizing something radically different that the user would not be familiar with would not fit into OXO's Brand.
We looked towards more traditional, yet still ambidextrous methods of operation moving forward.
As a group we constructed a clay model of our faucet design to acquire a sense of scale and proportion, as well as to communicate our design for our final submission for this project. The intention of our final design was to make a faucet that followed universally understood heuristics for operation while also making it accessible and easy to use.
Continuing the Design
After our final submission for class, we were not completely satisfied with our design that we submitted. We continued to develop the design hoping we could better represent the OXO brand. We conducted another period of ideation sketching and finalized our new design.