Having developed an extensive relationship with the HP design team, in 2007 I lead a project while at frog design to help HP envision the future of TVs for their brand. They had just made a major strategic push to enter into the living room, with the TV being the natural vehicle to enable this shift. This would be an Archetype program: setting the future vision towards which HP TV design would strive to make reality.

Our team first started with immersion into how people interact with their TVs in real home environments. Several interesting observations: everyone aspires to mount their TVs to the wall, very few people do. TVs get “migrated” around the house, pushed to various bedrooms or dens as newer, bigger, better versions are brought into the living rooms. There are many functional modes of watching TV, from direct active viewing, to casual background chatter, to kids babysitter, to group social catalyst.

We also tore apart a range of competitive products, to understand from the ground up how TVs are constructed. Some were impressively packaged, some were surprisingly shoddy. But we learned  there was real potential in exploring new component architectures to arrive at new forms.

We also traced the evolution of TV design over time, noting that content is ever increasing, the “frame” around the content is ever decreasing, thickness is incrementally reduced, cables and audio are minimized. Content is stretched into ever wider landscape formats. This helped us plot a future vision where all points were leading to: a thin panel of pure content hovering on your wall.

Using this foundation as a point of departure, we went through several iterations of the design process, sketching, CAD modeling, and prototyping various versions until we had defined our Archetype. We focused not on the frame around the device, as competitors were, but the overall gesture, how the frame related to the table surface, the ease of connecting devices, and the use of new compelling architectures that heightened the perception of thinness.

We couldn’t foresee the brand’s strategic exit from the category just a few years after, however. But the work still stands as a testament to the creative opportunities that exist within any crowded category.

Team: Andy Logan, Adam Richardson, Nicholas Kim, Cormac Eubanks, Mike Krynock