Feature Design High Definition "Handycam" HDR-TG1/TG3E
Feature Design High Definition "Handycam" HDR-TG1/TG3E

The debut of unprecedented materials and colors

Takagi: The outer body is constructed of titanium. It was proposed by engineers seeking the best in lightweight, durable materials. Still, it's also tough material for design work. Natural titanium has a subdued, tan tinge, and a designer's first impulse might be simply to combine it with black. But this wouldn't feel like the image Sony achieves in products, which seems like the inevitable choice. Frankly, I think manufacturers other than Sony would settle on this kind of color scheme.

As we discussed this, Takuya suggested brown as an accent color. People certainly seem comfortable with brown today. We see famous brands of handbags in brown, and in Japan, many people have been dying their hair brown for some time. It's a familiar color. It's also an ideal color for a new chapter in the history of camcorders, where they fulfill a different role than in filming one's kids.

In the finish of the metal itself, instead of the natural smoky beige cast of titanium, we sought a burnished effect with a warm tan tinge close to common silver. Achieving this color was extremely difficult. We had no precedent to follow. After repeated trial and error, we succeeded in bringing out a color that is quite bright for titanium.

Next we set our sights on the accent color—brown, for the grip. This color is the result of three coats. A transparent brown material is sprayed over a gold base, followed by a tough, protective coating. It might be described as the appearance of gold as seen through sunglasses. For this kind of subtle coloring, you can't simply issue instructions, with standard color chips tacked to your product model, and expect to get the desired effect. Chocolate? A greenish hue? Or a reddish hue? We asked engineers and coating manufacturers to do their best, and I attended the final color inspection meeting. It has been a long time since this took ten attempts.

Look at how the color appears on the device, and you can see both richness and luster in the curved contours of the grip. Sculpted lines along the edge where you hold the HDR-TG1/TG3E not only enhance the grip, but also show the pleasant, subtle effects of this unique color.

Don't oversimplify "simple"

Takuya Niitsu

Niitsu: It's not easy to create an appealingly simple yet interesting shape. Skilled designers have insight, in this regard.

For example, Noriaki rejected a flat surface on the side of the grip because he realized that the coating would add a distinctive luster on the curves of the grip, and that uneven surfaces would give the device character and make it more attractive. After all, there was no need to create this shape, but it makes the device more expressive. It helps convey the messages of the design, without being pretentious. Simple, but not boring. And because it's interesting, it's memorable. That's the essence of this kind of desirable simplicity. This is not the domain of graphic design, it's something you can only do well in industrial design.

With the same effect in mind, several people involved suggested pulling the silver section at the tip of the lens back to match the lines of the main body and LCD panel, to simplify the contours further. But do that, and the device looks less interesting. I decided this adjustment might make it too boring. And personally, I value this sensibility. Choosing not to align the lines gives the lens a sense of character. We can assert the device's photographic heritage. I think the essence of the word "simple," in this sense, is conveying the desired messages of design in a straightforward way. Outstanding designers can convey difficult design themes in ways that seem elegantly simple, although this often requires hard work.

| 1 | 2 | 3 |