Feature Design PIIQ & Jienne
Feature Design PIIQ & Jienne

Details people appreciate

Morisawa: Five models round out the PIIQ line, but in design, we sought one goal. Instead of viewing headphones as just a device to listen to music, we tried to design an enjoyable listening experience. Some things are very distracting when active youth trying to listen-worrying that your hair will get caught or tangled up in the headphones, that earbuds will come off your ears, or that the band will get scratched. We eliminated these problems as much as possible while adding details that will make you glad you own the headphones. For this reason, they combine all kinds of tweaks you won't find in regular product design.

Take the top PIIQ headphones (MDR-PQ1), for example. The cloth-covered housing is a first for Sony. It's disappointing when gross painted headphones eventually get scratched, but with fabric, over time they develop a nice, worn look and you become attached to them. Another nice sign of use is how the pink base color gradually begins to show through the black surface of the buckles. This reminds me of how, right after some skaters get a board, they intentionally scratch it up a little. The way it's scratched shows what moves or tricks the skater is good at. We brought this mind to the headphones and actually made it easier to show some character through wear and tear by embossing the surface. This thinking and fabrication is the complete opposite of "scratch-resistant" product design manner.

MDR-PQ2 headphones have a cloth-wrapped headband, molded pads, and rubber hanger covers. Covering the sliders and mechanical structures prevents hair from getting caught, even with an afro or long hair. Meanwhile, MDR-PQ3 headphones have a very simple structure, shaped and constructed of a rubbery material to be tough. We chose this material so there's no need to worry about scratching or abrading them.

PIIQ earbuds come in two models. MDR-PQ4 earbuds gently clip on your ears, which keeps them on even if you're upside-down. And when you're not wearing them, you can hang them on a sleeve or pocket to show a little style. Slide them together, and you'll notice that the shapes on each side form the PIIQ logo. MDR-PQ5 open-air earbuds are also available. Here, we took advantage of the holes (used to fine-tune the sound quality) to create an iconic "gas mask" from the bass ducts.

Besides this, there are many other details you may not notice until you use the headphones. The cord junction is shaped like a P, fonts and finishes in L/R labeling vary by model, and so on. When you do notice these touches, we hope you feel more attached to the headphones.

Packaging should also be cool

Zamani: PIIQ packaging was designed at our U.S. office. Rui's cool, vibrant, and fresh product design is such a departure from the regular Sony design image that we wanted to break from tradition in packaging, too.

Packaging generally follows product shapes, functions, and other elements, and this time, we matched the PIIQ logo style and headphone look-and-feel in the packaging. This helps us ensure a consistent brand image. Along these lines, we let the PIIQ attitude shine through while including understated Sony logos as assurance of quality.

All PIIQ packaging looks fresher, brighter, and bolder than regular Sony packaging. This not only catches the eye of the younger generations the headphones were made for but also distinguishes PIIQ from competitive brands in stores. Blister packs for the two-earbud models hang by a ball chain-a bit adventurous in packaging design. Usually headphone packaging just hangs there on the racks, looking rather lifeless and unfashionable. We attached the chain to a corner so that the packaging hangs at a 45 angle, somehow fitting for active younger generations that are always on the go.

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