Design as a differentiator
A Philips case study

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Page 3: The design brief

On the basis of the analysis, the group outlined a series of products that might fit the aspirations and needs of the target audience. The design direction was based on creating ‘a new domestic quality’ including the characteristics of:

  • affection
  • rituality
  • reliability
  • ease of use.

It was decided to make four products - a toaster, a kettle, a coffee maker and a citrus press - because these are international staple products, used almost every day. They are visible in kitchens rather than being stored away.

Philips 5 Image 2One of the most exciting aspects of design is to turn abstract characteristics such as ‘affection’ and ‘ease of use’ into product characteristics. For example, the stability that results from the stocky shape and large footprint increases the product’s ‘reliability’. The four products needed to constitute ‘a family’, although there would be scope for individuality in the design of each product. The ‘family’ characteristics would be represented in features such as colour, materials and the design of the user interface.

In addition to shared family characteristics, the products would have a number of individual characteristics, examples of which are:

Citrus press –

  • A powerful 85W motor guarantees continuous performance, with super quick and easy pressing.
  • The motor is extremely quiet
  • The Press remains static while in operation.
  • Sturdy construction makes it easy to dismantle and reassemble
  • The juice flows directly into the glass. The spout can be closed by means of a handy drip stop.

Coffee maker

  • The two parts of the coffee maker, the machine and the insulated jug, snuggle up to each other like little animals
  • The insulated jug can be used to serve the coffee directly to guests, functioning both as a conversation piece and as a participant in a social ritual
  • The insulated jug has an unbreakable stainless steel inner vessel
  • The full coffee flavour and aroma are protected, thanks to its closed system.


  • The kettle leans slightly forward, as if eager to serve - like a butler, not intrusive, but always ready
  • A special locking device ensures that the lid will never fall off during pouring
  • A dual water-level indicator allows the kettle to be used equally well by left-handed and right-handed users
  • The kettle has a three-level safety system.


  • The toast is ejected quietly and gently
  • The toast sensor system allows browning according to personal preference
  • The crumb-tray is extremely easy to remove and replace
  • The toaster has an extra wide and long slot, for thick and thin slices of bread.

Philips | Design as a differentiator