How Kickass Functionality Meets Beautiful Form
Remember the office? What is it that you miss most about going into the workplace? Was it the free coffee? The fridge full of fizzies? The hallway high-fives? We miss those things too… but the one thing we missed the most was the feeling of having a truly productive space – our own little corner where we got our best work done. If you feel the same, Poly has answered your prayers with the launch of our Poly Studio P Series, our new line of personal video devices designed to accommodate the shift to remote and hybrid working. These beauties were designed to seamlessly integrate with your home workspace in addition to your at-work style, empowering you to bring your best-sounding, best-looking self to every call no matter where you are – even from home!
While the slick design of these new products is easy for anyone to appreciate, it’s always fascinating to go behind the scenes with our crew of designers to understand all the considerations that go into each product. To get the down-low on the Poly Studio P Series, Darrin Caddes, VP of Design, (virtually) welcomed us into the industrial design studio to share what inspired their creation.
[Question] As our design lead here at Poly, can you explain the fundamentals of how your team approaches designing products?
[Darrin] To truly understand our process it’s important to understand our design ethos and the history of our brand. Like many great Silicon Valley origin stories, Poly was founded in a small garage in Santa Cruz back in 1961 by two pilots who wanted to create a more functional headset to wear on cross country flights. By the end of the decade, we were developing headsets for NASA and enabled what is arguably the most infamous transmission in history, “One small step for man…” from the Apollo 11 moon landing. Since that time, several important characteristics have remained constant in our DNA. Primarily, our focus on connecting people no matter where they are or what’s going on around them.
Our approach to design is really quite straightforward – build a product that is ground-breaking yet practical, something that is functional and also beautiful to look at. We applied all these principles in the Studio P Series. As more people are working remote, the emphasis on aesthetics has become a focal point for our team as more business-grade technologies are making their way into our homes. Gone are the days of industrial-looking black boxes… these devices need to look good in people’s homes and personal workspaces.
[Question] Can you expand upon how those design principles show up in the design of the Studio P Series?
[Darrin] In the Poly Studio P Series, each of these high-performance cameras was designed within the framework of our uncompromising commitment to performance and reliability to ensure conversations have the most impact.
We knew that in order for our users to make the best impression during their most important virtual interactions, they need to look and sound incredible. So, our people on the technical side of the house baked in camera optics that quickly adjust to give the best lighting and Poly’s signature noise-canceling audio to block out whatever background noises are going on around you.
Back on our side of the house in the design studio, we integrated diffused vanity lighting into the Poly Studio P21 that’s both soothing and provides optimal lighting for video conferences.
Poly Studio P21 vanity light testing
We also love to hide little ‘delighter features’ in where we can, so we integrated convenient functionalities like a little magnetic ball and socket on the Poly Studio P5 camera. This allows users to easily remove the device and point it around the room, share a sketch or piece of reference material… no other camera that we know of does this.
Another aspect that influences our designers is that we are here in Santa Cruz, adjacent to Silicon Valley. Poly’s long history of innovation intersects with the Santa Cruz culture of action sports like big wave surfing, skating, cycling, and mountain biking. All of the activities that our designers do in their free time have found their way into the Studio P Series having inspired the sleek, smooth form factors and the durability that our gear needs for everyday use.
We also have the inspiration of our beautiful coastline, where the rugged mountains and the redwoods meet the ocean – all of these things can be found in the work that we do. Colors and materials play a huge role in conveying those influences. The speckled white sand color that you see on our newer products is directly inspired by the beaches here in our local community. One of our main goals as a design team is to make sure that the products we’re developing integrate well and live in harmony with the environments that they are in – and that could be an office environment, a conference room, and now more than ever someone’s home.
[Question] What are some design features that are consistent across this new line of devices?
[Darrin] Something that’s consistent across our entire range of next-generation Poly video products is our Poly pixel venting and our soft white sand finish. Another important detail for our designers is to create products that are beautiful 360-degrees. Meaning, we place just as much importance on how our devices look from the back – or even details that are out of sight as they do on the front face.
White sand finish on the rear of the Poly Studio P21 and P15
[Question] You mentioned designing for someone’s home. Has this changed how you approached this design?
[Darrin] Yes and no. Our customers have always been at the center of our designs… So, the concept of developing products that are beautiful as well as being something that people actually want to wear or put in their office space is not a new principle for us. We’ve been providing solutions for remote workers for years with our mobile solutions. What was different this time around was the emphasis placed on the home. Although the Studio P Series is a great line of products for wherever you work, we know that right now and for the foreseeable future, that will be people’s homes. So, now our focus has been on designing a whole new category of pro-grade products that align with home interior trends and other at-home technologies.
[Question] What are you most excited about with the Poly Studio P Series?
[Darrin] Our goal is always to empower the end-user. So many professionals are faced with the impossible task of working full-time, teaching their young ones in school, maintaining a bit of separation between their work and home lives, and still manage to find time to be happy and healthy human beings. And yet somehow, we’re seeing people pulling off ‘the impossible.’ We are deeply inspired by our customers and we hope that when they use a Poly device, they feel amazed, optimistic, and confident. We know we can’t turn someone into a superhero, but we sure can make them a kickass cape.
To learn more about the Poly Studio P Series visit http://poly.com/studio-p.