Yamagishi: Kanae and I must have considered hundreds of combinations of colors and patterns. But the hard part was narrowing down just the right colors and patterns that would cover a broad range of user tastes. Depending on the pattern, players in the same shade of pink can look gently alluring or boldly glamorous. Products also give a different impression with a shiny or satin finish, for example. The possibilities are truly infinite, but as we visualized user tastes and lifestyles, we narrowed down the combinations of colors and patterns so that each panel represented a distinctive character, with no overlapping.
Our work was also challenging because of the size of these tiny panels. The Sony logo and player buttons made our "canvas" for design work even smaller. Getting the effect we imagined took repeated trial and error with mock-ups.
When you're shopping, check out the blister packs for a preview of these accent panel accessories. Giving people a good idea how the panels will look on their player required a little innovation, with help from our packaging designers. The dazzling display is sure to catch your eye, in shelves full of mostly white WALKMAN® accessories. Choosing your favorite color may be tantalizingly difficult, but I hope you'll enjoy this experience, too.
Sugiyama: Change the panel, and you can instantly transform the appearance of an E series player. But no matter how you change the appearance, you'll still recognize Sony style—that was a priority for us. To ensure this, we applied the time-honored WALKMAN® language of design in the shape of the player.
Specifically, tiny E series players reflect the aesthetics of the S series. The S series makes a lasting impression, outlined in a silver frame. We preserved this general image in the E series while refining details such as the button layout. The structure supporting switchable panels is actually quite sophisticated, with the panel and buttons assembled into a single component. Panels slide easily onto the player, without increasing the body size. This required careful engineering. Most important, the buttons had to be easy to press. But for a more impressive change of appearance after applying panels, we wanted to keep the acrylic part as large as possible. Balancing these two priorities took the greatest attention to detail.