As power tools have moved from the toolboxes of (mostly male) professional contractors into the garages of (both male and female) average consumers and DIY'ers, shrewd industrial designers have taken notice and incorporated elements designed to appeal to the new demographic.
Design Week UK has a fascinating article up interviewing the ID'ers behind power tools and their most recent findings.
Hans-Peter Aglassinger of Teams Design, the consultancy responsible for creating Bosch's power tools, says there is a new target customer: the 'chorists'. 'They are not passionate. They are beginners, often female, and not into the rugged, robust, extremely powerful aspect of power tools,' says Aglassinger. For the chorist, a power tool needs to be attractive, new and different, he says. Ergonomics are important, but 'not in a way that it must be completely rattle-free and not vibrate'. Rather, it's a case of 'feel it, touch it, love it, buy it', he explains.
Mark Stratford, industrial design manager of Black & Decker in the UK...adds that, 'Aesthetics and styling have become really important. In power tools, consumers look for durability, robustness and functionality, but they also buy iPods, cars and flat-screen TVs, so there's an expectation that something should look like it was designed in the 21st century....'
Another increasingly important consumer is the female user, but talk of 'pink and fluffy' replacing the principles of good design is anathema to manufacturers.
'Every woman in Europe knows that Bosch is related to technical expertise,' says Aglassinger. 'So it's not necessary to apply lady-like pink to products. Women don't like to buy special tools, because it's discriminating. They want to buy the right tools for the work.' Stratford echoes this sentiment, saying, 'If you get the design right, it will satisfy everyone, including females - a really comfortable drill will be good for everybody.'
Read the rest here.