Airflow Tennis Racquet for Head
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Offering improved performance to an underserved market
To strengthen market share in Europe, Japan, and the US, HEAD approached IDEO to design a line of racquets designed for female recreational players. IDEO, recognizing the opportunity to create a paradigm shift in tennis racquet design for Head, emerged from the initial phase of the project with three unique designs. Each design incorporated a variable profile along the racquet’s perimeter, resulting in compelling new forms and slightly larger heads. In addition, the designs featured an innovative, ergonomic “integrip-feature.” User testing in the target markets confirmed the effectiveness of these features, which the team further developed to incorporate HEAD’s PowerBall and Metallix technologies.
A variable profile section along the perimeter of the racquet head both grants the Airflow series a unique aesthetic character and makes the head appear smaller than it is. (Larger racquets result in bigger sweet spots, but also suggest a less talented player.) This illusion is achieved with concave sections and “wings” in the heart of the racquet that conceal the extended strings, allowing the Airflow’s wielder to avoid the stigma of inexperience without sacrificing performance. An improved grip—designed specifically to fit the anatomy of the female hand—joins smoothly with the racquet head to create additional ergonomic advantage on the court.
In addition to the Airflow’s sculpted sections and ergonomic details, Head’s own eye-catching product graphics lend a distinctive appearance to the new models. The Airflow line represents HEAD’s successful embrace of both its female player market and cutting-edge advances in tennis racquet design.
Project date: 2006