Beauty in Total Simplicity
As a leader in the speaker technology, SONOS has established itself in a certain market. But, when venturing into soft-good accessories for the first time with their Alpine Bag, they were jumping into a new production process and looked to STEL for packaging and production expertise.
From ideation to engineering and through production, STEL worked to ensure a package that aligned with the iconically simple SONOS brand at every step. Through dynamic brainstorming, rational design, and clean execution, STEL delivered a strategic design that would be adopted to SONOS’s entire soft goods line.
The UX Balancing Act
SONOS’s key value proposition has always revolved around optimal user experience. From their software, to the speakers themselves, to the packaging these products are wrapped in, effortless user experience has been the top priority. When creating the flow of production for this packaging, STEL needed to consider more than just ease of use. The design needed to use environmentally friendly materials, meet specific sizing requirements, and be easily and inexpensively manufactured.
Simplicity is Never Simple
To meet the needs of SONOS and their consumer, the Alpine Bag Packaging needed to be built in rationality and execution, creating a product that was exceptionally usable and fit seamlessly into the existing product lineup. Simplicity, however, is never simple. Through in-depth examination of SONOS’s processes, ideating multiple concepts at once, the STEL team was able to hone the perfect final product that met every one of the client’s needs.
Based in Brainstorm
STEL’s design process was collaborative from the start, both internally between design and engineering teams, and with the SONOS at every step to ensure client satisfaction. The STEL team began with a studio-wide brainstorm, developing over 20 entirely different concepts. Some focused on innovative user experience, some on accessibility, some on brand alignment, some from the lens of efficient production, and some purely for the sake of creativity.
These concepts were further developed, combined, reinvented, and were pared down to four final versions to be prototyped. With these samples, STEL’s visual design team applied branded graphics to each concept, the industrial design team tested overall unboxing experience, and the engineering team ensured each concepts’ manufacturability, which could be applied to other soft good products in the future.
To design a box that would create an innovative user experience, STEL had to think outside the box.
Pushing the Limits on Pulp Technology
To equally prioritize the user and the sustainability of materials used, STEL crafted each concept using a heavy pulp material that is both rigid, and recyclable. Pulp did it all: added protection to the product, enhanced its sustainability, created a polished look to elevate perceived value, and integrated into SONOS’s existing brand identity without a hitch.
Enhancing Product Display
With such a notable clean, sleek, and simple style, it’s no secret SONOS designed beautiful products that needed to be shown off. The packaging encompassing these products needed to follow suit: entice the consumer to explore the product, communicate a high perceived value, but ultimately remain simple to avoid drawing attention away from the Alpine Bag. STEL considered the importance of a strong first impression, given SONOS’s plans to expand their soft good line far beyond the Alpine Bag. The minimal visible packaging in these concepts indicated a new category of product offering for SONOS, which draws the consumer in even more.
High Retail Adaptability
When considering user experience, STEL aimed to create concepts that had a consumer hooked at first sight, especially in the retail setting. From hanging on walls, to stacked on shelves, to imagery online, the Alpine Bag packaging needed to encourage users to explore the product. In order to explore, consumers needed to see the value and feel the quality of the product. These concepts aimed to expose and celebrate the form and materials, not hide them like traditional consumer technology accessories.