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.