We talk about workplace trends a lot… If you’ve been following along, we’ve been tracking the notable shift toward open office designs and how they create a need for huddle rooms. These are small to medium sized spaces where teams can quickly gather and virtually connect with remote team members to collaborate and share ideas. To make this kind of teamwork as seamless as possible, Poly works tirelessly to develop high-quality huddle room solutions that mimic face-to-face interactions — and today we’re going to take a look at one in particular — the new Poly Studio X family of video bars.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Nick Paterson, Sr. Director, of Industrial Design at Poly to peek into the world of our rock star designers here at Poly and learn a bit about the process of how our technology gets its form — a process which is equally thought provoking as it is impressive.
Before we dive in, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the new Poly Studio X family of video bars — these radically simple all-in-one huddle room solutions offer native integrations with VaaS services including Zoom and Microsoft Teams, which means you can leave your computer at your desk and launch your video meeting directly from the device. Okay, now let’s find out how it got its sleek design.
[Question] The Poly Studio X family has a very different look and feel compared to the Poly Studio USB. Where did you draw inspiration for the design of the new Studio X?
Next generation Poly Studio X next to the Poly Studio USB.
[Nick] Poly’s design team cares deeply about the process of discovery and shaping the future. As designers, we’re all in a constant state of ‘sponge mode’ as we constantly soak up inspiration from our surroundings. One of our core activities is to gain early insights by visiting our customers and studying how their workspaces function.
Bloomberg European Headquarters, London, UK.
Here, we’ve observed a recent increase in attention paid to office design in a bid to attract and retain talent and promote a happy and healthy workforce. We designed the Studio X family with these beautifully designed huddle rooms in mind. Our aim is that the next generation of Poly products complement and integrate into these thoughtfully designed workspaces in a subtle way.
Bloomberg European Headquarters, London, UK.
[Question] Something that stands out immediately about the Studio X family are the light-colored finishes and soft materials. Can you speak to these stylistic decisions?
[Nick] One thing that makes the Poly design team unique is that we’re located in Santa Cruz, California. Between the lot of us we have a fair share of hobbies like, mountain biking, surfing, skateboarding, fixing old cars — you know, stuff like that. Our work and lifestyles blend together which means we often draw inspiration from the surrounding nature and the stuff we spend time doing when we’re not working. For instance, the beach was the starting point for creating a unique sand texture on the Studio X rear surface.
Another example of this can be seen in details of the Studio X that most people might not ever see. Inspired by working on cars, we paid just as much attention to the details ‘under the hood’ as we did to the parts people would actually interface with.
We then combine this inspiration with insights regarding global design trends. Our team does things like monitor trend sites, go on observational visits, and attend expos.
By seeking out the common thread that runs through architecture, fashion, interior design, and automotive design, we’re able to connect the dots between recurring themes to create a recipe for our design language. It’s a tricky balance which often requires many iterations to arrive at the appropriate ‘next gen’ look and feel.
[Question] That’s fascinating! What does the design process look like from there?
When it comes time to put pen to paper, we initially tackle every project together and draw inspiration from one another by reviewing our work as a team. The best elements of each design are often combined in this process and incorporated in the next design sprint.
Poly’s design team sharing their work.
[Question] You mentioned that you draw inspiration from nature and then combine it with global design trends. Can you speak a bit more to how the design trends were expressed in the design of the Studio X Family?
[Nick] Sure, speaking to the workplace specifically, we’ve observed a trend toward a more casual expression at work. What we mean by this is that today, the vast majority of people showing up to work aren’t expected to be dressed in formal business attire. The workplace is becoming a place that is meant to be cutting-edge yet comfortable. This can be seen across the Studio X collection with the use of a midnight denim fabric across the face of the product — creating a more casual yet, still appropriate look to it.
The sand color on the rear of the device not only gives off an airier look, but it also helps it blend into the walls and tables where the device is installed. This camouflaging effect results in the Studio X having a sleeker and more elegant read to it.
Close up image of the Poly Studio X.
Rearview of the Poly TC8.
We design around attributes such as nestled, clasping form and thin floating edges that are backlit to create a lifelike or soulful look. Contrasting colors on front and rear surfaces also create less visual mass and a fresh modern look.
[Question] As you examine these trends, what themes or concepts do you see having the most influence across industries?
[Nick] We’ve been tracking the trend of consumerization in the workspace. Something that customers have come to expect from their work devices is instant gratification and simple UX (user experience) all wrapped up in a lust-worthy design. In their minds, their work hardware should be on par with their personal devices — much like how we expect launching a videoconference to be as easy as using FaceTime. We’re crafting simple consumer first experiences, through softer, indirect LED lighting and a move towards fabrics with a lighter more approachable feel as opposed to more industrial hard black plastic edges.
[Question] How would you describe the new Poly hardware design language that will be seen across other upcoming releases?
[Nick] Now that we’ve established the look and feel of the Studio X family video bars, our goal is to roll out the new Poly design language across our other products and apply it in a consistent way without being too literal. The soft lighting cove element seen across the Studio X family creates an approachable look and feel but it’s functional as well. These lights indicate the device’s status and is a consistent UX element within the family and will also be seen in other upcoming product releases. We’re currently creating new collections for our desk phones and headsets that have the new Poly look and feel so stay tuned for that.
So, these are the fundamentals that we have in place but as with all brand languages, it’s on a constantly evolving path and our job is never over in terms of refining the nuances.
Check out the Poly Studio X family of video bars and learn more about our huddle room solutions on our website.