Sakata:In GUI design as well, we focused on the particular type of camera and character of the product involved. For the VG900, which is often used in video production, we ensured seamless operation even if you change how you're holding the camera between scenes. As for the 'α99' and RX1, the GUI has been refined so much since the previous models that it can be considered brand new.
Icons on the older 'α77' have just the right textural qualities, which distinguish the camera as an 'α (alpha)' model. In contrast, the new 'α99' is designed especially for high-end camera enthusiasts. Here, clarity and recognizability in the GUI were paramount. The less we embellished textures, the clearer and finer we could make the new icons. We developed quite a few versions of icons in various sizes and thicknesses-more than a thousand in all. By narrowing down the best and running simulations, we created a set that was clear at a glance.
Another innovation on the 'α99' is Quick Navi Pro. Next to a convenient list of shooting functions, you'll find the digital level gauge and histogram. You can adjust any settings in a flash, if necessary, so it's easy to prepare for shooting. The shooting settings are arranged on the right side of the screen, so it's natural to associate them closely with control dial operations and screen transitions. When viewing live images or shooting video as well, you can view and adjust settings without losing track of the subject, which makes the camera much easier to use. In fact, we incorporated the Quick Navi not only in the 'α99' but also in the RX1.
GUI design for product-specific features proved especially challenging for the 'α99's Dual AF. This feature combines a 19-point AF sensor system with a 102-point focal plane phase-detection AF sensor. Without some modification, the focus points would be too crowded on the screen and restrict your view of subjects. Here, too, to the extent possible, we arranged the points into a display pattern and used the clearest, least complicated approach to keep the function practical.
Quick Navi Pro ("α99")
Quick Navi Pro ("α99")
Sumita:In packaging design, our tone and style has varied depending on the type of product involved, but from now on, you'll see consistent packaging design within product tiers and across categories for all Sony digital imaging products. In the top tier, you'll find our flagship full-frame cameras with 35 mm-equivalent CMOS sensors, and for these, we sought the same image across product lines.
As a design motif, we chose the "grand umber" color around the mount. Adding the line to packaging reinforces the full-frame camera product identity, and setting it against a black background makes the packaging look more striking and distinguished. When picking out a camera in this tier, people rarely decide by comparing the packaging at a store. We narrowed down the information and product photos that usually appear on the box as much as possible, for a simple appearance.
Ensuring that products make a great first impression is also very important to us. To excite people and make them more satisfied with their new RX1, for example, we arranged a straightforward unboxing experience. Lift out a black box inside (which holds the manual and other printed material), and you'll find the camera, thoughtfully wrapped in a cloth pouch. We deliberately chose cloth to protect the camera, and it sets a decidedly different and more luxurious tone than bubble wrap or other impersonal materials would.
In pursuit of ideal packaging, we have conducted a lot of research on packaging techniques and materials. This has led to the pulp cushioning under the camera, for instance. Here, thermally molding paper pulp produces cushioning that retains qualities of the material and fabrication process-the attractive matte finish of paper and the smoothness of thermal molding. A familiar application of this technique is paper plates, but Sony was probably the first company to use the approach in packaging, for the RX1.
Niitsu:Each of these models was designed under different conditions and along different themes. The VG900 remains faithful to established design, the 'α99' builds on "Tensile Skin" aesthetics, and the RX1 reinterprets authentic camera design from a Sony perspective. Uniting the trio is the grand umber color and consistent packaging. I think they demonstrate the breadth of Sony design well. Even before shooting, you can sense the promise of full-frame Sony cameras, when you see and touch them. When we succeed at this, we can consider ourselves lucky to be designers.