Design of the Year 2013
Initial 'Signature' Range
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DESIGNER
Orcadesign Consultants
Jeremy Sun Ting Kung
Michael Toh Chong Nam
Ryan Toh Kian Seng
Da ze Lee
Kwek Chin Leong
In collaboration with
Greaves Best Design
Michael Best
CLIENT
Rentokil Initial
Xuemei Bennink-Bai
Mike Errey
Lee Suan Gaik
Dave Rhodes
Gary Wingett

Elegance meets precision as the Initial ‘Signature’ Range sets itself to be the next icon of hygiene service products through design innovation. Beginning as a refresh of identity and product language, an apparent need to remodel the elements in the washroom landscape surfaced. This turned into an interlaced collaboration of research, ideation and engineering among an assemblage of marketing, manufacturing and engineering professionals from Initial. Orcadesign Consultants was responsible for the conception of the ‘Signature’ design language, which acted as the catalyst for the next generation public washroom amenities through a family of 11 analogous products.

The Initial ‘Signature’ Range is the design embodiment of both function and form. While it addresses hygiene needs through the integration of sensor technologies and user-centric interaction, users are also informed about its cleanliness through its graceful primary surfaces. Its structure is built on ergonomic studies of layout, positioning and user interaction, which promotes the accessibility of product for customers, and the serviceability for staff.

Yet at the same time, this also improves the visibility of brand on a spatial level. Combined with graphical icons for proper usage, intentional button detailing and overall visual perception, a new typology of service equipment is designed, giving rise to a better product experience and its attractive appeal.

Put together as a long term design strategy, the Initial ‘Signature’ Range is established with incremental plans for the future. Each of the 11 products is accompanied with a complete set of colours, materials and finishing for a growing collection of contexts, while parts are shared congruently for design consistency, cost efficiency and product continuity. Ultimately, great effort lies in the development of ‘Signature’ design language, which remains the backbone of the design vision, and the foundation of upcoming design efforts.

To date, Initial has attained design patents for the Initial ‘Signature’ Range, and plans to launch their new product range in 2013. Orcadesign Consultants is proud to be the design consultant to the world leading contenders in pubic hygiene care for this project.

ABOUT THE DESIGNER

Jeremy Sun is the design director of Orcadesign Consultants, an Asian design house, which handles strategic product design and research consultancy. Part of a global design movement, Orcadesign Consultants operates studios in Singapore, Malaysia and China. For the past 20 years, the design house has been empowering clients through innovative design strategies and solutions, within Singapore. Jeremy and his design team has received international accolades, including multiple wins at iF Design Awards, Red Dot Design Award and Good Design Award. For him, awards are recognition for their work.

In recent years, Jeremy has been leading design thinking programmes and helping clients to reframe challenges, create compelling visions and craft innovations that resonate with their target market. He is also active in design education and promotion, having lectured in undergraduate programmes in design institutions and forums. It gives him a chance to impart his experiences and inspire the youth. Jeremy has also been appointed advisor to various Singapore Government agencies. He offers decades of experience, expertise and insight to help shape master plans for the creative industry. Jeremy graduated with a MA (Distinction) in industrial design, from the University of central england in Birmingham, United Kingdom, in 1992. He worked at Lawton & Yeo Design Associates in Singapore after graduating and has been with Ocradesign Consultants since 2001. He has been practising for the past 20 years. For Jeremy, industrial design is a complex process that considers research and development, as well as marketing and sales. Most importantly, it deliberates over what consumers want and what end users desire. There is a technical and an aspirational component which considers the emotional aspect of the design.

The Initial ‘Signature’ Range is created through intensive research. There are many stakeholders in the project. It is not just any regular consumer product. The team needs to cater to the needs and function of the end user, as well as pre-empt considerations of the sanitary companies such as the selection, installation and maintenance. They aim to create a design vision that offers different expressions, but works on the same basis. This need arises from the difference in regional expectations and preferences. The European market prefers neat, logical, trustworthy and expendable forms; while the Asia Pacific market prefers expressive, curvilinear and sensual forms. There is a great need to unify the language as well as introduce a unified branding for the range.

Outside of work, Jeremy indulges in playing the piano. It helps him express his feelings through music, as well as to focus and pay attention to the details. Designing for him, is a way of expressing emotions. He is inspired by what he sees and experiences. It is his vocational habit to question what will happen when things are done in a certain way and why things are designed in a certain way. He believes designers need to love what they do and enjoy the process. In order to do a good job, it is important to have an inquisitive mind and the courage to dive into the work.

Jeremy Sun’s advice for emerging designers:

“Never stop doing any of these: Observe. Inquire. Empathise. Learn. Explore. Imagine. Challenge. Communicate. Practise. Reflect. Reinvent.”

JURY CITATION

The Initial ‘Signature’ Range is a complete set of hygiene service products, created to express Initial’s new brand consistently through the design of its products. Most critically, these humble everyday products are the physical touchpoints for the Initial brand in providing an essential public service. And the Jury could see that this project was a massively critical part of a wider strategic business transformation.

The professional approach to this very demanding project was impressive, encompassing research with both users and service staff in addressing real needs and issues. The result is that these products work with grace and simplicity. They are clean, calm, simple and intuitive to the user. The Jury appreciated that, while that is easy for all of us to see and appreciate, it is, paradoxically, very challenging to achieve.

The result is a range of sanitary products which addresses real and difficult sanitary and service needs, and which improves the washroom experience for all of us. The Jury was very impressed by the contemporary but appropriate design language of the ‘Signature’ Range, which pioneers a new look and feel for the Initial brand and its business transformation

NOMINATOR CITATION

LEE SUAN GAIK
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
MANAGER - VISIONARY
RENTOKIL INITIAL

The new initial ‘Signature’ range redefines the significance of hygiene products with user focused design, creating an elegant and updated product language positioned in an evolving washroom setting. This is a culmination of dialogue and design-led research between international industry leader, Initial and Singapore-based strategic design consultancy, Orcadesign Consultants.

Once considered a misunderstood and unappreciated product, the Initial ‘Signature’ Range is a modern reinterpretation of service equipment with design sensuality. It has done so through the establishment of strong visual characters. The evidence is seen both on a macro scale of its humanistic and distinct product silhouette, as well as on a micro level of naturally subtle and graceful arc of its primary surfaces, bringing out the level of sophistication and exclusivity essential to heighten the image of public amenities.

Yet, this graceful presence also meets its functional aspects with the incorporation of LED lights as haptic automatic indicators, accent on buttons as tactile cues and clear graphical icons as cognitive instructions for its users. Ergonomic principles are also applied to each product based on its viewing angle and operations, and supporting platforms are designed to invite the interaction of users in an approachable manner. Holistically, the Initial ‘Signature’ Range addresses the needs of users, while providing an affordable product.

For initial, the product must fit its context. not only is the Initial ‘Signature’ Range designed with clean primary surfaces devoid of visual intrusions, a distinct brand impression reflects across a range of colours, materials and finishes for a spectrum of setting. the exemplification of cleanliness and versatility in the design sets the ‘Signature’ Range apart from its competitors. As an iconic collection, it reinforces Initial’s brand position as the global leader in hygiene. The Initial ‘Signature’ range is unique in that it needs to fit a broad range of factors such as geography, culture, age and gender.