The visual landscape of enterprise computing is littered with everything from bold use of color to muted machine aesthetics. NetApp has a rich aesthetic DNA and a history of delivering compelling, leading-edge products that provide outstanding performance and a reliable user experience. M3 was challenged to evolve NetApp’s corporate design language in order to elevate the NetApp brand in the minds of their customers in lights out, low touch data-center environments. Even though there may be little interaction with these types of products after deployment, they nonetheless are the primary physical encounter customers have with the NetApp brand and play a key role in connecting customers to NetApp’s core values.
M3 worked closely with NetApp stakeholders to rationalize a visual hierarchy that characterized the NetApp brand attributes and paired them with key customer personas. The results were used as input to the concept generation and evaluation activities. Our designers and engineers worked closely with NetApp and their supply chain partners to resolve “Design for Manufacturing” (DFM) challenges without compromising the intent of the design language. This approach resulted in a family of products that cohesively expresses the NetApp brand, while meeting critical cost and quality targets and delivering a highly scalable implementation strategy for future NetApp products.
A successful design language not only renders products as physical brand vehicles, but also provides a framework for a common dialog across the many specialized functions of an organization. M3 developed a highly scalable and aesthetically distinguished design language that helps NetApp communicate with its customers, enables them to dramatically reduce the time required to implement industrial design on their products and accelerate development programs, while providing a comprehensive tool kit for design language application across their multiple product lines.
Strategy: M3 began by engaging both internal and external stakeholders from multiple NetApp organizations to determine the brand-conversation that NetApp wanted to convey to their customers through their products.
Concept Critical to any design language is a deep understanding of how colors, materials and finishes manifest as brand attributes– as well as how they can be achieved within manufacturing and cost constraints.