Design Product Design

   Our X rated ThinkPad struts its stuff I've been reading some of the press comments over the last few days about our newly introduced ThinkPad X220, and I must say I am a bit overwhelmed. It's not often that you see comments this dramatic in support of the work my team does. I thought I would share a few of my favorites here: Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Proving that Sexy, Small & Smart Does Exist in an Ultraportable "It's not everyday we say "Oh My GOD, that is one sexy beast!" but that is exactly what the ThinkPad X220 is." Everything USBLenovo’s X220 ThinkPad with ‘24 Hour’ Battery. "If I was going to buy a non-Mac notebook, it would probably be a ThinkPad. Don’t worry — my reasoning is entirely shallow: I like Lenovo’s machines because of their styling, not their substance. When closed, the brutal, square-edged black cases look amazing, and I always think that you’d have to be an idiot to try and steal one: the owner could batter you about the head and upper body with it and the ThinkPad wouldn’t even show a scratch." WIRED ThinkPad X220 review: awesome keyboard and 20 hour battery...

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Why are there so many differnt kinds of screws? Screws are one of the most highly used fasteners to assemble products today. There are many different  styles of screws; allen head, torx, phillips head, square drive, slots, tamper proof, etc. etc.  Screws have certainly stood the test of time, and allowed for invention. Personally, I like screws because they allow me to disassemble, and if required, repair things that have gone bad. I've taken apart almost anything you can imagine. Snap fits, spin rivets, and hidden catches foil the "mechanic" in me.     Exposed screws are just part of what makes this design classic say "I mean business" In general,  manufacturers try to limit the number of fasteners. They cost more money and add complexity to the assembly process. There are exceptions, however, a few product categories showcase fasteners as part of the design. Exposing screws is typically done for those products that are intended to communicate a very utilitarian or rugged design aesthetic.  A pistol without  a few exposed screws just wouldn't look right. Unfortunately, I've seen the exposed screw aesthetic over done more than a few times. I once remember seeing a line of  U.S. made 1980's muscle cars that sported a dozen or more injection molded allen head bolts. Yes, they...

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I just got word from the Industrie Forum Design Hannover that the ThinkCentre M90z we designed has been honored with a 2011 design award. Out of a total of 2,756 entries by 1,121 participants from 43 countries, the jury of the iF product design award selected their 993 favorites. We're very proud that our work was included in their final selection. We posted a short video about creating the design a few months ago. I thought I would share my thoughts here about how I think we created a winner. Design recognition of this magnitude does not happen by chance. Typically, an awarded product is the end result of a long  journey that begins with the customer and ends with a product that solves a problem. Hopefully, it solves the problem in an engaging and meaningful way. That is where design talent comes into the picture. Between the beginning and end of any design project is a lot of hard work that is about having meaningful ideas and a focused drive to get the details right. I'll try to touch on a few of the ideas and details that I think helped make this a design an award winner. Multiple stand solutions offer the customer...

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I immediately know what needs to be pulled on this one My last blog, about pulling the pin, certainly generated lots of interest and ideas on how to solve the monitor set-up problem.  It's great so many people share my passion for solving these kinds of design dilemmas.  After sorting through the comments, I asked my team to study alternate pin ideas. We would base the designs on the feedback from my blog, and any other source of appropriate inspiration. I'm determined to fix this once and for all. I just can't stand seeing another monitor with clipped wings. The two most important themes from blog comments centered around the following :1. Make the pin ridiculous looking so that it doesn't blend into the monitor2. Make the pin highly visible from the front Using these themes, we went to work making sketches of ideas that would fill the bill. As with any brainstorming exercise, there were lots of ideas. Many of them were quite funny. We had ideas for pins that were molded to look like a daisy, a lucky 4 leaf clover, a miniature hand, and even a striped neck tie. One of my favorites was designed to be an actual molded plastic fork. When removed, it could be used as an ordinary eating utensil.  The fork concept had a nice environmental respect angle, but I'm not sure everyone would see it, or pull it out.   ...

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  I'm sure everyone has seen those cliche complaint department signs that ask you to take a number so that your displeasure can be registered, heard, and acted upon by the appropriate corporate complaint owner. Just to be funny, the number is connected to the pin of a simulated hand grenade. I can certainly sympathize with the concept, nobody really wants to deal with bad news for a career. There isn't much of a wait, unfortunately, at the happy line. I think it's fairly safe to say that happy customers have a tendency to be much less vocal than the disgruntled. Oddly enough, I have a complaint that just won't go away that also involves a pin. All ThinkVision monitors, that include height adjustment, ship with a small blue pin that disables the useful feature for shipment. This is important because collapsing the height adjustment allows the carton to be much smaller and far less expensive to ship. We also need to secure the monitor in the lowest position so that when you pull it out of the package it doesn't unexpectedly sproing into the fully extended mode. This would be a surprise that no customer would want. My complaint is that I often see our monitors installed with the shipping pin still in place. This means someone paid more money for the ergonomic feature and the ultimate user isn't aware that their monitor adjusts. In the field we have even seen these monitors placed on phonebooks to raise the...

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