Akita:You have a lot of different “Cyber-shot” models to choose from. There are many series, and in each series, we offer models for various markets, manufactured to different specifications. When preparing our palette of colors, we must keep the entire product line in mind yet know how each series is positioned with a unique sense of character. What's more, we should know about the colors of products in other categories scheduled for launch at the same time, and it's essential to research local color preferences in all of our markets. With so many things to consider, it's hard to chart the best, most logical course in design.
And after we finally decide the impression we want colors to convey, we face the daunting task of achieving this effect. In the tradition of “Cyber-shot” design, it's critical to retain a sense of the inherent quality of the materials we use. As we pursue the desired colors, we employ many techniques, such as anodizing, electrocoating, and clearcoating. We seem to have an unlimited combination of materials and techniques at our disposal, but we must find the optimal solution to ensure products look their best.
Coloring metal is also extremely difficult. Try to make anodized aluminum pink, and a slight difference in processing conditions can make it dull and dark or dazzlingly bright, altering the hue and finish dramatically. It may be easy to aim for pink, but hues that fade under sunlight must be avoided. We try combinations of dyes of all kinds as we check the results.
We're willing to try new materials and techniques, but this means that even when initial results look promising, we wouldn't be surprised to discover that our approach won't work in mass production. Each time this happens, we meet and patiently examine the color, identify and resolve the problem—even revise our quality management processes, if needed.
Yamagishi:As mentioned, pink comes in many hues. It's understandable that people might love one hue but hate another. We look for optimal colors in consideration of product characteristics and target markets. And then, we must bring out these colors in our products. That's the hard part.
Without a doubt, a subtle difference of shading can make a product look tasteless or tasteful. You can see fine examples of creating the right impression through just the right hue in pink Sony products. As designers, we strive to keep in constant contact with each other so that we're on the same page about colors and the impressions they give, which can't be conveyed with color samples.
Fukamatsu: People seem keenly interested in color around the world. It's understandable that brochures and magazine ads are sometimes created from the standpoint of color instead of product category. We use this approach in promotion ourselves.
We also see color as a way to enliven products with a breath of fresh air. Choose particular colors for products traditionally marketed to men, and it might rouse women's interest. We can offer something fresh that blurs traditional notions of gender. Color has this kind of power. And a tangible example is pink in Sony products.
We're also tired of the rationale of choosing pink because a product is intended for women, which feels outdated. Men's fashion in recent years (sportswear, sneakers, and other apparel) demonstrates that vivid pink is now used not only as an accent color but as the main color. In Sony products as well, we offer pink hues that appeal to men and women alike. How can we pave the way to take advantage of other powerful colors, besides pink? Our team knows that this is a promising field for pioneering design work from Sony.