My Book for Western Digital
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A hard drive design that resulted in market leadership
In the computer peripherals market, the external hard drive category has emerged as an area of rapid growth, doubling in size from 2004 to 2006. Western Digital, in a bid to achieve leadership and differentiate their line of compact external hard drives, came to IDEO for a new design language that was cost-efficient and visually pace-setting.
To reduce material and manufacturing costs, IDEO began looking at ways to streamline the form of the traditional external hardrive. Inspired by the metaphor of external hardrive as book, with its hard cover and internally contained information, the team opted to use an upright posture for the design. Standing on end, the My Book has a compact enough footprint for residential and workspace desktops. Also key to the design’s new form is its simple, fastener-free assembly from just two parts. Through the cost-saving simplification of the form, the client minimized production—by 20% over the previous design—and shipping costs.
Aesthetically, My Book merges usability with distinctive detail to speak to Western Digital’s brand values—reliability, simplicity, innovation, design, and personal excellence. To make the drive’s inner workings as transparent as possible, a single button on the face of the design illuminates to indicate power and processing. The drive’s peripheral venting represents Western Digital’s brand values in Morse code. Finally, the drive’s monochromatic hue allows it to recede into the background.
After beginning rollout of three subfamilies of My Book in January of 2006, Western Digital saw indications of growth within just six months, including: expanded distribution to such mass market outlets as Target and Wal-Mart, a move from third place to the #1 position for external hard drive share in the Americas, an increase from 4% market share to more than 10% in Europe, and distribution through Apple stores in the US and Europe. Between January and November 2006, My Book grew US market share by more than 50%, from 21% to 45%. Share is expected to exceed 55% in 2007 due to the My Book’s continued success.
Project date: 2006