Feature Design Color / Pink
[ 2010.1.21 up ]

Discovering and demonstrating the power of color

Color is a powerful element of design that can make or break product character. Used effectively, it can arouse interest and stir up business. This was revealed and proven early on, in tests with Sony products in various colors. Hear what designers have to say about pink, now a standard color that defies passing trends and preconceptions about product markets and categories.

Kanae Fukamatsu
Kanae Fukamatsu
Sony Corporation
Creative Center
Producer and Senior Designer
Asami Yamagishi
Asami Yamagishi
Sony Corporation
Creative Center
Designer
Miho Akita
Miho Akita
Sony Corporation
Creative Center
Designer
Yusuke Otani
Yusuke Otani
Sony Corporation
Creative Center
Designer

Sony, pioneers in color

Fukamatsu:Years ago, if you mentioned Sony products, most people would imagine black and silver styling. Those of us in design have always been eager to explore color, though, and over the years we have tested out new colors as we give people more options.

Quite a few Sony products are used together, and we keep this in mind when developing color options. Imagine products connected to a “VAIO” computer. These notebooks are like a "mother ship" for “Cyber-shot” cameras or “WALKMAN” players. The colors of notebooks cover more surface area than those of the other devices, which dominates the image conveyed by colors. Like a canvas already almost full of one color, this has often been our starting point for developing compatible products and completing the picture. In connected devices, we consider what hues would be a satisfying extension of the base color and what hues people would enjoy combining with it.

Pink was a color we were especially eager to introduce for women. In fact we were so eager that pink was included when we released our first headphones with interchangeable color accent panels. But that was only an accent color. We first introduced pink as a body color in 2006, in the “VAIO” C series and “Cyber-shot” DSC-T10.


“Cyber-shot” DSC-T10

Now all manufacturers seem to offer pink as a standard color in computers and digital cameras, but at the time, it was still very unusual. These were truly epoch-making models, for Sony as well as the electronics industry in general. People appreciated it, and it earned rave reviews in the media. This paved the way for us to move from using pink as an accent color to adopting it as a standard color in many product categories. As fashion and tastes have diversified in recent years, people seem to be more sensitive to matters of style. Pink continues to emerge across the industry as a trend color.

The pivotal balance of sense and sensibility

Fukamatsu: For us, exploring color options involves comprehensive study. To guide us in development, we first consider the product category and character, consumer tastes and trends, and local preferences in our markets around the world. Inspiration is everywhere, if we look carefully: in interior design, fashion and fashion accessories, on the street, and in the pages of magazines. We share our inspiration, look for a sound basis in theory, and then build on these concepts to develop everything from body colors to virtual wallpaper. Here, we must balance a reasoned, intellectual approach with a sense of style.

Pink in particular is quite intriguing but also very difficult. It runs the spectrum from pale, cherry blossom pink to purplish hues. The fact that pink products can look cute, elegant, or glamorous depending on the hue makes it tricky to work with. That's why it's critical to establish guidelines initially, which help us focus on what kind of pink we want and why.

Pink hues that emerge from this work remind us of many things. In new “VAIO” C notebooks, we imagined shades of cosmetic blush and feminine cheeks flushed with excitement. Open it up, and you'll see a two-tone pink gradient, with the palm rest and keyboard panel each giving a subtly different impression.

Interestingly, using exactly the same colors in “WALKMAN” players or “Cyber-shot” cameras would not have the same, alluring effect in these products. We take a comprehensive approach to color management, but we develop colors that complement each product. As we expand the Sony palette of colors, it takes the skill of each designer in charge and teamwork among many of us.

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