July 2007

Eco-friendly design done well

In an immense effort, dubbed „Green Asus“, the company redefined itself as a more eco-conscious consumer electronics brand and my team devised guidelines on how the product design and development process could contribute to this vision.
Designing the value line of Asus’s LCD monitors with Marta Michalowska at the time, the series of products was conceived with a focus not only on high volume production and cost efficiency, but also on green design practices, as the following three examples illustrate.

  1. Reducing parts – Every individual part that needs to be designed and manufactured requires resources, such as tooling, finishing, assembly, and maintenance. Integrating components like buttons into single parts helped to save these resources in the product development process of the VW Monitor Series.
  2. Sharing parts between products – Both internal components (e.g. connectors and boards), as well as external parts (e.g. stands, feet, buttons, and screw covers) were shared between the monitors of the VW series, so as to reduce the impact that tooling and manufacturing processes of a multitude of different components would have had on the environment.
  3. Use of alternative surface finishes – Instead of applying extensive metal parts or recycling-unfriendly spray-painting processes, the VW Series monitors were manufactured from only one type of uncoated PC-ABS plastic. To set accents, the environmentally friendly vacuum metallization coating process was applied to the control elements of the monitors, resulting in a family of monitors that would not only have little impact on the environment in its manufacturing process, but was also recycling-friendly.

Good design can be affordable

Using the constraints that the project briefing held to our advantage, we unified the design language of Asus’s value line of LCD monitors. Despite their low price point, the products  exuded a good value and solid quality, achieved through a simple, yet refined form language and a considerate application of a series of different textures and finishes.