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Streaming and Entertaining: Consumer Electronics Special on Trends and the best Designs

With Christmas around the corner and people cozying up, home entertainment is more important than ever. Be that for the perfect movie experience when the family is gathering together to watch a Christmas movie, or as the perfect present under the tree. But what wireless headphones give the perfect sound? What speaker or soundbar designs make you feel even more like home and match your interior? What are the best innovations on the market?

For our iF design special on Consumer Electronics we present you with all the designs of now and tomorrow - with a turn on "female tech designs", a look into our awarded products and a turn on the perfect soundbar. There is even a nostalgic look into the past and into the strongest brands in consumer electronics.

See for yourself, what the iF WORLD DESIGN GUIDE has to offer on Consumer Electronics, from computer, gaming and telecoms to building technology und audio.

Awarded Consumer Electronics 2019:

Awarded Consumer Electronics 2019:

From hi-fi audio to HD video and everything in between, it presents design technology that inspires. Consumer Electronics represents all that entertainment and information devices have to offer. Scroll through all awarded designs of 2019 in the categories computer, gaming, telecoms, building technology und audio.

View the awarded designs 2019

Audio Design VIDEO: Damian Mackiewicz of HARMAN International

Damian Mackiewicz is vice president of design at Harman. In 2011, he was co-founder of the first in-house design organization and established design as one of the most important strategic columns of the company, among them brands like JBL, Harman Kardon and AKG. Under his direction, the design department was honored with more than 300 design awards. In 2019, he was himself a judge for the iF DESIGN AWARD 2019! We asked him about his principles of good audio design. See in the video, what he has to say!

Soundbars: Stylish Surround Sound for Home Cinema

Streaming Services are collapsing, not only around Christmas. Current statistics show that the video streaming market size will grow at an estimated CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 19.6%, from 2019  to reach an estimated $124.57 billion in value by 2025 (Marked Watch 2018). More and more people enjoy watching movies and especially (bingewatching) series at home. One of the biggest services - Netflix - has over 91.46 million international subscribers (Netflix, Statista 2019). 

While more and more people like their home cinema experience, their needs for perfect sound gadgets grew immensely. Manufacturers and designers reacted to this trend years ago and there is an increasing amount of companies selling high-end soundbars - like Sonos, Samsung or LG Electronics - which is also reflected in the growing number of soundbars submitted for the iF DESIGN AWARD.

Awarded Soundbars 2019

The Sonos Beam is the new smart soundbar designed for a wireless multi-room system. It can be controlled using voice activation, the Sonos app, AirPlay, your favorite music service app, or even your existing TV remote. While compact, it allows you to experience a rich, detailed sound that fills the entire room.
Sonos Beam Sound System, iF gold award 2019

The Sonos Beam is the new smart soundbar designed for a wireless multi-room system. It can be controlled using voice activation, the Sonos app, AirPlay, your favorite music service app, or even your existing TV remote. While compact, it allows you to experience a rich, detailed sound that fills the entire room.

A compact soundbar for enjoying realistic video and music content. High sound quality is retained but the size is reduced to allow installation in any user's location, such as below the TV screen or on a compact TV board. The trapezoidal shape directly reduces resonance and improves rigidity to produce clear bass sound from a small enclosure.
HTB 200, Panasonic, iF DESIGN AWARD 2019

A compact soundbar for enjoying realistic video and music content. High sound quality is retained but the size is reduced to allow installation in any user's location, such as below the TV screen or on a compact TV board. The trapezoidal shape directly reduces resonance and improves rigidity to produce clear bass sound from a small enclosure.

Featuring 2.1ch speakers with a built-in subwoofer on the bottom and curved long ducts on both sides, these soundbars pack a powerful low-end punch in a small package. The design emphasizes harmony with interior spaces over integration with TV units, employing a round design that looks great in any layout – even away from the TV.
HT-SF200/HT-SF201, Sony, if DESIGN AWARD 2019

Featuring 2.1ch speakers with a built-in subwoofer on the bottom and curved long ducts on both sides, these soundbars pack a powerful low-end punch in a small package. The design emphasizes harmony with interior spaces over integration with TV units, employing a round design that looks great in any layout – even away from the TV.

The NW700 offers users superb sound while its presence is minimized, causing no distraction to users and helping them enjoy a better viewing experience. Users don’t need to reach through a blanket of dust to find hidden ports to connect cables to install other devices around the TV.
NW700, Wallmount Soundbar, Samsung, iF DESIGN AWARD 2019

The NW700 offers users superb sound while its presence is minimized, causing no distraction to users and helping them enjoy a better viewing experience. Users don’t need to reach through a blanket of dust to find hidden ports to connect cables to install other devices around the TV.

The simple, straight-line design of this premium sound bar speaker works well with any TV design. The size best matches 55-inch TVs, and the Dolby ATMOS delivers the best sound to the user. The buttons and cables are arranged to be convenient regardless of installation type—desktop or wall-mount. The buttons are normally hidden but shown with touch lighting when the product is in use.
Soundbar SL 9, LG Electronics, iF DESIGN AWARD 2019

The simple, straight-line design of this premium sound bar speaker works well with any TV design. The size best matches 55-inch TVs, and the Dolby ATMOS delivers the best sound to the user. The buttons and cables are arranged to be convenient regardless of installation type—desktop or wall-mount. The buttons are normally hidden but shown with touch lighting when the product is in use.

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Retro Consumer Electronics Designs Now & Then

Retro Consumer Electronics Designs Now & Then

The Stereo-Radio-Cassette-Recorder by Philips was one of the hottest products in 1987, when it was honored with an iF DESIGN AWARD. Its distinctive and bold black and white design was appealing to children and adults the same. Nowadays, when there is endless music-radioshow- or podcast-streaming with your phone or laptop and when there are speakers, even the newest version among similar iF awarded designs seems obsolete. It needs no mention, how the design of receivers and players changed over the years to a more subtle, intuitive and almost invisible design, integrating into your home. Product below: The Rayer DE11 by Guangzhou Rayer Acoustic Technology, awarded in 2018.

Female Tech Design: Interview Klaus Schröder of Design-People

Since its founding 14 years ago, design-people has focused on user-centric interface design for technology products. One of their main, one would say "tricky" goals, is to design electronical products specifically for women and their needs. How to do this? We asked Klaus Schröder, Business Innovation Director and co-founding partner of design-people. The nordic innovation and design company has been honored 12 times with an iF award, some of them for their stylish Vifa speakers. Vifa is a danish company with a long-established heritage and technical expertise in audio systems. Read below, what Klaus Schröder has to say.

Vifa's speaker designs - Nordic styles for perfect sound

A uniquely woven textile cover gives the Oslo a genuinely groomed look, while the easily accessible embroidered volume buttons add to the refined user experience. Its solid aluminum frame underlines the idea of a well-crafted premium product with full-bodied sound at an impressive playback volume, while still being compact enough to easily follow you around your home.
Oslo, Bluetooth loudspeaker, iF gold award 2017

A uniquely woven textile cover gives the Oslo a genuinely groomed look, while the easily accessible embroidered volume buttons add to the refined user experience. Its solid aluminum frame underlines the idea of a well-crafted premium product with full-bodied sound at an impressive playback volume, while still being compact enough to easily follow you around your home.

The design language is distinctively Nordic, with an intriguing, raw simplicity, and comes in two material versions – a uniquely woven soft look textile cover, and a rough, rocky version of anodized aluminum – both with a genuine leather strap for easily carrying and hanging the product. As tiny as it seems, Reykjavik still has delivers impressively powerful 360° sound.
Reykjavik Bluetooth speakers, iF DESIGN AWARD 2018

The design language is distinctively Nordic, with an intriguing, raw simplicity, and comes in two material versions – a uniquely woven soft look textile cover, and a rough, rocky version of anodized aluminum – both with a genuine leather strap for easily carrying and hanging the product. As tiny as it seems, Reykjavik still has delivers impressively powerful 360° sound.

Wireless, versatile and with a chargeable battery, you can always use it where it looks and sounds best. The slim speaker has clean lines with excellent crafted details. Built to last, it is enclosed by a smooth, one-piece cast aluminum frame and wrapped in a durable, soft quality textile.
Copenhagen, Wireless spekaer, iF DESIGN AWARD 2014

Wireless, versatile and with a chargeable battery, you can always use it where it looks and sounds best. The slim speaker has clean lines with excellent crafted details. Built to last, it is enclosed by a smooth, one-piece cast aluminum frame and wrapped in a durable, soft quality textile.

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What inspired you to design especially for the female market?

Klaus Schröder: Our user studies, in which we met with women who were not interested in existing technological products, piqued our interest. We wondered: what is the actual relationship between tech products and female users?

What did you find out about female design interests?

Klaus Schröder: We discovered that none of the three tech companies involved in our “Female Interaction” research project (lasting from 2019 to 2012) had specific insights about how female target groups perceive their brand and their products. We also discovered that it takes clear and motivating benefit stories about how new tech-products can improve everyday (social) life to get women interested in buying technology. Women are more demanding in terms of ease of use, because they usually don't want to focus on the devices themselves and are busy with their social lifes – whereas at least some men tend to be more interested in the gadget itself.

The tough task for designers is to create tech-products that make a woman and her home look and feel right – or at the very least, which are not invasive. She wants no additional displays in the living room.

What was it like then, working with Vifa?

Klaus Schröder: We started our collaboration with the Vifa management and development, when the company and brand was reinvented into an audio luxury brand with the help of Chinese capital. With our expertise in female responsive innovation, design and branding, we were able to uniquely position the Vifa band and to give the products their special Nordic design language. The extensive use of interior fabrics from the Danish manufacturer Kvadrat contributes substantially to the Vifa look & feel.

This is very much close to Nordic Design. Can you explain this?

Klaus Schröder: Traditionally and historically, Nordic Design derives from interior design, while German design mainly comes from product and engineering. As a result, Nordic Design is more focused on the entire spatial context (living spaces or public spaces), and therefore tends to have a holistic perspective. Its formal language is based on craftsmanship, functionality, simple lines with a human touch and ‚authenticity‘ in the choice of materials.

Speaking of the future: Where will design be in "ten years"?

In ten years, it will still be possible to improve people’s every day life with surprisingly well thought through and simple designs. Digitalization and a strong focus on sustainability will drive innovative design solutions in the years to come – and the female influence on design will become more pronounced. Also when it comes to “smart homes.

Sennheiser: Premium Audio Products since 50 years!

Sennheiser: Premium Audio Products since 50 years!

We are proud to congratulate Sennheiser on 50 years of iF awards! The German audio company has been honored with 63 iF DESIGN AWARDS since 1969. Since its foundation in 1945 by electrical engineer Prof. Dr. Fritz Sennheiser, the company continuously sets the trends in the audio industry. Design itself is part of the company’s philosophy, as Oliver Berger, Head of Global Design, puts it during the certificate handover in the headquarter: “Design, in the understanding of customer-oriented, holistic design of high-quality products and services, will always be an essential requirement of Sennheiser.”

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Gaming Hardware with Expert Tipps: Design Special Gaming

Gaming Hardware with Expert Tipps: Design Special Gaming</h2>

No other medium has such a creative and passionate community as games. Whether cosplayers, modders, e-sportsmen or streamers: What do they really want and need? Where do the designers of gaming hardware set in? For a gamer, pro or not, the perfect gaming experience is paramount. We believe, a great looking, innovative and easy to handle hardware is irreplaceable to reach this experience. That is why we asked designers and manufacturers in our iF design special on Gaming what they believe the next trends are.

Go to the Special

CES Las Vegas as the Global Stage for Innovation from 7 to 10 January

CES Las Vegas as the Global Stage for Innovation from 7 to 10 January

What is new in Consumer Electronics in 2020? Companies, manufacturers and designers will gather in Las Vegas, at the renowned CES Show, from 7 to 10 Januar 2020. CES has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for 50 years — the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace. Among the key topics in 2020 are virtual reality, streaming and home entertainment technologies. The CES is owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®.

Go to the Event


Brands Consumer Electronics