Sometimes, it seems like we only remember the bad product redesigns – not the good ones. A great example isthe New Coke failure of the mid-1980s.
Even people who weren’t born at the time have probably heard of that disaster – when one of the most successful product companies in the history of the world decided that it was time to come up with a new formula, and the result was a sales and public relations disaster that was used as a cautionary example for years, even decades to come.
But the fact is that there have been some truly great redesign moments for products, brands and logos over the years that have brought new levels of success to the companies that decided to undertake the task. Here are some examples of redesigns that worked.
1. The Nest Thermostat
In August of 2017, Nest Labs radically redesigned one of their flagship products – the smart thermostat. This wasn’t so much because of a functional issue, but a perception-based one. They simplified the tech-heavy product, revamped its sleek, black color scheme into a more regular-household-friendly vanilla color, and perhaps most important, dropped the price by $80 to appeal to a wider market.
The original model, while successful, was seen as an elite product that regular consumers couldn’t afford, and it was also designed to grab attention. The simplified version is meant to appeal to consumers with less interest in flash and more interest in a product that works.
2. The Nokia 3310
The original Nokia 3310 cellphone was introduced in September of 2000, and for many people it served as their first-ever cellphone purchase. But with the advances in phone technology moving at a lightning-fast pace for the last decade, the 3310 quickly became obsolete.
Earlier this year, Nokia launched a redesigned version of the phone, with the requisite Web browsing, Facebook and Twitter capabilities, along with a camera option, but they kept the style of the phone stripped-down so that the battery life can last much longer than the typical iPhone or Android. In fact, a single charge can last the phone up to a month.
By playing up the phone’s main advantage – simplicity – and banking on the value of nostalgia, Nokia ended up making a bold move that paid off. The phone sold out of suppliers within days after its release in May 2017.
3. The Chevy Impala
Back in 2013, the Consumer Reports magazine website created a list of the most effective automobile redesigns and the Impala topped the list, with the site pointing out how the car had jumped over 30 points in their rating system due to its new standards of comfort, roominess and ease of driving, calling it one of the best cars on the road.
Once a maligned design relegated to rental-car status, the Impala’s redesign was a sleek, dramatic and welcome new approach to the venerable model, beating out redesigned cars from Hyundai, Audi and Mazda.
As we’ve seen from these examples, product design isn’t always perfect the first time out. If you’re deciding whether to embark on a redesign of a product, make sure to read our post “Things to Consider When Redesigning a Product.“