HP design’s Chad Paris on using design to cultivate creativity: “Professional tools must take into account increasingly open environments”
We live in a creative age. Now more than ever, our ability to envision and build is the central value we bring to work. No longer defined by the boundaries of office and home, success lives where inspiration and passion are cultivated – channeled into developing ideas that drive change and move industries.
An emergent synergy between the professional and personal we at HP call One Life; bringing our whole selves to work, and never turning away from inspiration at home.
As designers, we stand at the nexus of form and function. Curators of a dialogue between power, capability and beauty that fundamentally underpins the potential of creation in this new age.
At HP, as a global design team, we thrive on immersing ourselves in industries ranging from furniture, to automotive, to personal appliances in an unrelenting pursuit of inspiration. From exhibitions in Milan to biennials in Venice – we’re reminded of the blend between form and functionality, the value of simplicity, and the use of honest materials.
Inspiration is always filtered through the context of one’s own philosophy and principles, and the demands of each specific application. Our philosophy is very much about the experience. We seek to take risks, ask big questions, to ultimately build products that are progressive, harmonious and iconic.
When we talk about being progressive, we mean a foundational philosophy that steps away from iterating on ideas – and towards asking bigger questions about what our core ideas should be, and how we can better bring them to life. When we say harmonious, we recognize technologies must complement one another and fit naturally into an increasingly broad range of environments. With iconic, we seek to take risks on bold designs, to go above and beyond, striving to achieve more innately memorable designs with every brief.
HP Design: “Hear, See, Have”
In my team’s universe – that of commercial solutions – we focus on optimising the technologies used to compete in, and advance, industries. Driven by the demands of an increasingly younger workforce, those digital natives raised on tablets and sleek personal electronics, our products must fit naturally both in and outside the office.
To address this audience and lead these emergent trends, we’ve honed in on differentiation in three key areas: hear; see; have.
Our products must deliver the right sensorial experience: immersive and dynamic, whether teleconferencing or enjoying a movie at home. Through our collaboration with Bang & Olufsen, we’ve created an immersive, dynamic sensory experience on our HP EliteBook PCs that’s 10% louder than the competition, with sharper audio tuned to optimize video conferencing or entertainment. With technology optimizing the addition of a third microphone, the EliteBook is constantly adjusting to the environment, disintegrating background sounds – like a crying baby or barking dog – so all members of the video conference can stay focused.
When we say “see,” our team is specific and considerate with the materials we use. Carved from a single piece of aluminum, the beautiful metallic exoskeleton of the HP EliteBook x360 speaks to the industry-leading functionality beneath. It’s business dress that asserts power and style. And this exoskeleton is functional, providing physical strength that stands up against the lifestyle of an on-the-move professional.
Ultimately, the form factor must be aspirational, something people are proud to carry. Professionals should want to have the notebook. This is not just about work; this is about identity. it has everything to do with a society where a notebook is a status symbol and part of a lifestyle – delivering as much a message of power and capability as the clothes professionals choose to wear.
And, of course, our notebooks can’t just look the part. They must be immensely capable, delivering best-in-class performance and industry-leading security features that enable our users to be productive and collaborative – and secure – wherever they are.
Professional tools must take into account increasingly open environments, including the mix of mobile and desktop PCs, prevalence of online conferencing, integration of digital content and cloud services and – of course – very real cyber threats.
Take our HP EliteBook x360. Our challenge was to make our existing HP EliteBooks more powerful and secure without compromising on inspirational form and fluid usability. We had to increase raw horsepower without adding space for thermal exhausts which would impact on the design – meaning careful consultation and partnership with thermal engineers.
To reinforce security, we added side ports, multifactor user authentication with an IR camera, and a smart card reader and biometric sensor. We also integrated the HP SureView privacy screen to prevent visual hacking with the press of a single button. All this – with zero compromise on the form factor that makes the HP EliteBook x360 such an iconic and compelling device.
Philosophically, we are big believers in customer insights. While some prefer to keep the lid on projects as tight as possible, I want our customers in the lab, feeding back on nuances to make every aspect of the product as intuitive as possible.
Thousands of hours of refinements, all for that moment when a user sits in a coffee shop or on their couch and starts their work seamlessly. When they forget the immense power of the device, security becomes second nature, and their mind centers purely on creation and collaboration.
While the philosophy and design challenges will vary from designer to designer and project to project – as a profession, designers hold a significant responsibility. Living at the intersection of form and function, day in and day out, we are tasked with the generational undertaking of bridging power, capability and beauty to enable a new era in human creation.
It’s a job we love, and one that will never be complete.