Vista, Calif. -
DEI Holdings has established a global design center to support the development
of new home audio and car electronics products sold under multiple DEI brands.
The design center is headed by Michael
DiTullo, who takes on the title of chief design officer and most recently was
creative director of frog design.
The design center will work closely with the
engineering and marketing staffs of each brand to deliver differentiated
designs but will leave audio engineering, software development, and "other
critical technical elements" to each brand organization, the company said.
Each brand has its own "distinctive DNA," and
the design center will help "reinforce and strengthen" those distinctions,
DiTullo told TWICE.
DEI president Kevin Duffy said the company
decided to "make a material investment in design" because "design has become
increasingly important for consumer products."
The design center will play a key role not
only in industrial design and user interfaces but also look at "why we are
making products in the first place" and how the products "impact people's
lives," DiTullo said.
The center, Duffy added, "will be involved in
brand strategy" in such areas as "where it goes and what it means."
DiTullo emphasized, however, that "what's
critical going forward is that our products manifest the unique DNA of each of
the DEI brands while delivering on key consumer insights and trends."
Besides designing products, the center will
also conduct research to determine "what brings people joy and determine "the
heart of the experience they're trying to go after," DiTullo said. The research
will include "immersive research" in which design center employees live with
consumers for hours or days to see how people live with products to proactively
improve products and predict where trends are headed, he said.
The company is targeting next year's CES to
show, at a minimum, prototypes or mockups of new products, likely from all
brands, Duffy said.
Among them, the company hopes to show new personal-audio
categories for the company's fledgling Boom brand, which launched six months
ago with headphones targeted to 13- to 25-year-olds and sold through CE and non-CE
sales channels, including college book stores.
DEI also plans to extend the Definitive
Technology and Polk Audio speaker brands into personal audio, having already
launched Polk headphones and a tabletop music system late last year. Additional
personal audio products would include wireless speakers.