A Dutch designer imagines a better way to brand the Korean giant.
For 21 years, the Samsung name as served as the company logo, occasionally superimposed over a wobbly blue oval. It’s the kind of logo that’s fine on washing machines and televisions, but incredibly boring on something personal, like a smartphone. Never is this more apparent than when compared to the branding of Samsung’s arch-enemy in Cupertino, which is simply the silhouette of an apple.
To gather ideas, Chang led his design team on a city-hopping observation tour around the globe, from hot-air-balloon rides in Africa to Singapore’s Skypark on the Marina Bay. “We were able to come up with a new design paradigm,” he says. And with it, a cool factor to rival Apple’s.
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Here’s why Samsung, #17 on our 2013 Most Innovative Companies list, should be lauded not loathed.
Samsung built a user interface similar to that of the iPhone but gained its real edge by improving one of Samsung’s core strengths: producing big, beautiful screens. In fact, beginning with the company’s entry into the semiconductor business, Samsung has cultivated an ability to quickly study, imitate, and, where appropriate, improve upon competitors’ products. In an age when information flows freely and contract manufacturers can pump out millions of new devices in a matter of weeks, that skill may be the most underrated in business.
But even after over a decade on the market, it’s clear brands still have no idea how to market e-ink accessories. Looking back at years of promotions for Stylus pens, what’s readily apparent is how few benefits marketers can imagine for the devices—which is perhaps indicative of how little benefit Stylus pens actually provide consumers.
One important thing you need to know about the S Pen is that it is not a stylus. “Make no mistake, this is not a stylus,” said Travis Merrill, Samsung’s director of tablet marketing, during the same presentation. “Our competitors have nothing like it. The S Pen looks and feels like a pen, yet it’s packed with advanced technology.”
To be fair, it’s a pretty cool stylu—er, “S-Pen.” For one, it uses electromagnetic technology to wirelessly sync with the screen, which helps accuracy. If you increase pressure on the S Pen, for instance, the line will be thicker on the screen. The screen distinguishes between more than 1,000 levels of pressure sensitivity.