Weijiang Sun (China) and Yuko Suzuki (Japan) worked together to design a monochrome laser printer/MFP for the Chinese market.
Sun strives to reproduce natural beauty. "Natural objects are rich in functionality and beauty. Their structures are elaborate and the materials are rational. Natural objects are designed according to the laws of nature", he says. Sun often tries to base his designs on natural objects such as shells.
Suzuki is interested in ethnic traditional lifestyles and cultures. "Similar traditions and artifacts are found in both the West and Asia even though the regions or eras are different. For instance, burning candles is a tradition that can be found in both Japan and foreign countries far from Japan, which makes me wonder why similar traditions are found in different places. I am amazed at universal traditions and cultures that come from different regions or eras", she says.
Sun and Suzuki strive for persuasive design based on nature and culture.
The design concept that Sun and Suzuki used for this product was "Daifuku", a rice cake with a white outer layer and a sweet bean paste inside that can slightly be seen from the outside. Daifuku is a well-known Japanese confectionery, which is round, soft, and sweet. It also brings comfort. "A similar traditional cake is also available in China", says Sun. Sun and Suzuki used a confectionery like Daifuku for the product's design concept "Friendly and Compact". This design concept materialized from the traditional confectioneries that are available in both China and Japan. The product design was created from the cultural similarities between China and Japan.
We conducted surveys for purchase trends, usage conditions, and design preferences in China. When purchasing products, Chinese visit shops and carry products home by hand or on a motorcycle. Because of this, products must be compact. Also, office workers seldom place a laser printer close to their desks in an office. Because of this, the design of this product is user-friendly and not like the obtrusive design of an inkjet printer. When selecting a product, Chinese ask their acquaintances for their opinions or read product evaluations on the Internet. Accordingly, the product was two-toned with white and black, so that even a small product image on the Internet looks impressive. This product's clear contrast is a color scheme new to China.
A combination of white and black was especially important for the design consideration of this product. Also important was the cover structure. Sun and Suzuki had many discussions with the engineers. To provide compactness for the product, white was applied to the front area, and a folding structure was applied to the paper feeding part, so that the black areas were less noticeable. Accordingly, the product is compact without feeling obtrusive. Also, to enhance product quality, glossy black and black with a matte-like texture were applied separately. Both designers strived to provide a black-and-white harmony and rhythmical beauty for the product that is functional.
This new design was made possible from the two designers' commitment and sensitivity as well as the traditions and preferences that are common to both their countries and also specific to their regions. We look forward to seeing more designers from different cultures and sensitivities interact together to create new designs.