Dr. Hartmut Esslinger
Founder and president of frogdesign
Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,
The 70's were the decade of marketing
the 80's were the decade of finance
the 90's will be the decade of design
Business Week Magazine 1990
Reading this quote from Business Magazine, New York, one may be inclined to
look at design like a magic medicine. I feel that the prominence of design
today has more to do with market reality. Today, basically great production
and functional quality is plentiful technical performance is exchangeable,
be it computers, automobiles, TVs, clothing - basically it's all the same,
the markets and product-features are transparent like glass-houses, the
customer knows nearly everything, even the margins lay in the open, there
is no feature the competition doesn't have very soon too, no major
mechanical differentiation has been left in High-Tech. Except innovative
human culture adopting products to people's specific needs - especially
emotional ones, DESIGN, Integrated Strategic Design to be precise.
Our own market research shows us, that in the field of TEDology products,
(Richard Wurman: Technology-Entertainment-Design as the new global
Design however is not defined by qualified esthetics alone, some people
list design as a visible principle of quality, some people define design
still as a matter of prestige, and some just look at the level of
excitement design will provide. Design is becoming different, democratic,
open, free. Design is reflecting our open society: many dreams, many ideas,
many truths. With design being considered a popular issue,
no artificial add-on is considered competent anymore, no stylistic
exclusion of the masses for the benefit for an elite will be tolerated.
DESIGN is requested, feasible and available in what Alvin Toffler calls the
"individual mass product".
- 10 years ago, 4 in 5 potential customers looked at technology and price and only 2 in 5 cared for design, ease of use and ergonomics.
- Today 4 in 5 potential customers make a buying decision based upon design but they also expect the price to be about 30 percent lower than the "elite-design target-group" would have accepted 10 years ago.
We all know what Commodore and Amiga meant as high-tech brands: Commodore
was an affordable way to get into personal computing, the first Amiga
machine actually was created just one mile off my house in Los Gatos - and
personally I know some people who created the machine very well. But for
some not so trivial reasons, the brands were managed out of the market.
Now - after ESCOM acquired them - NOW
We have set you three goals:
- What will happen to the legendary brands?
- What will be the future products?
- How will they look and feel?
- To whom will they appeal?
- And will there be a new legend?
Our new products will emerge from what Richard Wurman calls TEDology, or
what Nicholas Negroponte calls the new domaine of "creative digital life"
As we just started to conceptualise and design the new product lines, I
cannot show you anything concise or descriptive at this time, I only can
explain our "way of design" a little bit and illustrate it with some
we will apply the best of Microsoft / Intel
we will apply the best of Macintosh / PowerPC
we will apply the hottest Technology in Games
and we will apply the newest in Digital Television, Audio and Video.
The new Commodore and Amiga products will be accessible by innovative and
cultural software-interface solutions, which will be easy-to-use and
powerful tools. I personally feel that our new products will create a new
standard for people-oriented high-tech consumer products.
Our new products will be high-tech fashion statements, some will appeal
to young people, as statements of a new culture, some will appeal to
women, emotional and elegant, some will appeal to power-hungry web-
surfers, some will appeal to machine-crazies, we will introduce color on
a bigger scale and we will create the opportunity of
- Historic frogdesign breakthroughs, which were then assumptions of the
future or became huge successes, changing high-tech into high-fashion.
And as I am also a teacher,
- The way students look at the future, they will live in as designers soon
But you will not feel left out completely,
- Because at the end of my short presentation, I will show you the new
brand identities of Commodore and Amiga and one short 3 second peek into
the design-work under way.
Let me also remark shortly on the new way of doing business in computing,
(which since about 20 years is at the center of my professional life):
a life life it myself now for more than 20 years:
- It is very competitive, but due to standards it's based on WIN-WIN
- It is about working together, respecting people and nature
- It is about building alliances rather than destructing common ground
Champaign-Urbana Computer Users Group / email@example.com