Industrial design & development of advanced, intelligent video and imaging devices for VR, action sports, home security and driving, including the roll out of all accessories and support bundles.
When fast moving technology and the latest design trends entwine within an ambitious Chinese company whose vision is to become a global player, China lives up to the progressive ‘place-to-be’ for a willing design agency. It’s the time to embrace dramatic change and to gain dynamic design experience but also a time to maintain the rigours of design; the standards and methodologies, and to ensure that we stay with a clear head above the noise.
Such was the challenge with YI. As a young, vibrant and relatively small company within Shanghai’s Pudong economic zone, Yi were not yet a Chinese household name let alone a global name during a time of Go Pro ubiquity & upcoming Sony drive. Their previous trials in video and imaging were unsuccessful in challenging the big players and the design of their products lacked a clear language or innovation. The brand image was suffering from an identity crisis causing developments to stutter at the lack of initiative or direction. They needed a new lease of life and wanted to look outside their company office for a design partner that understood their complex and aspiring needs and could create a new and unique product family language. Step up WILDDESIGN.
After intensive problem analysis within the product portfolios and the insights gained from this, continuous product and brand development is the main theme of the cooperation between WILDDESIGN and Yi; from the brand's point of view, the ultimate goal of product design is to solve the practical, functional and psychological needs of the users. "WILDDESIGN is always a great support in the development of Yi!" - Ms Song (founder Yi)
Late in 2014, WILDDESIGN China partnered with YI to bring about this change. At that time the brand was operating under the name of Xiaoyi, meaning ‘little ants’. Within these early meetings, our design team began deciphering aspirations, visualising them within technology roadmaps and NPD priority lists. Structurally, we sought to create an understanding of where design fits within a company of developers, engineers and sales personnel, whilst managing ambitions with coordinated briefs and regular milestone meetings. Once the working arrangements were stabilised and a number of initial projects underway, Xiaoyi commissioned WD to finalise their design of the company’s first Action Camera, setting an important milestone and foundation for future success. Fast forward 3.5 years into our design partnership and you can find YI as an established video and imaging consumer brand, pipping global competition with the world’s first 4K action camera that shoots in 60FPS, a feat customers began dubbing as “the Go Pro killer”. With three successful generative models of their Action Camera plus a whole host of other niche camera products and specialist accessories, the WILDDESIGN Shanghai team is proud to hail YI as a major global player and a leader within this field - So much so in fact, that their new ‘See Everything’ tagline rightly fits the brand’s mission.
Action camera users come in a variety of forms and thrill factors, ranging from the steady uphill jogger, to the insane downhill biker. Designing a camera that can stand up to the test, recording beautifully sharp and stunning video and housing it within protective and functional accessories, is a challenge which can crack the most methodical and thorough of design processes. It’s also just the beginning of the journey since users are demanding more intelligent features to help them capture more, in ever newer and fresher ways. Fortunately, WILDDESIGN were able to work closely alongside YI’s software and hardware engineers, enabling the analysis of functional prototypes and all-important real user needs to guide refinement and future developments.
The home is a sanctuary worth securing smartly. Within lies life itself and the precious treasures we have created and amassed along the way. But in a world of increased working demands, we cannot always guarantee our abiding attention. YI capitalised on this idea early on, commissioning WILDDESIGN in early 2015 to refine the next generation of smart home cameras. Packing in a range of intelligent features such as emergency photos of unrecognised guests, the detection of break-ins, checking if Molly is sleeping in the cot or even finding if Cooper the dog is bullying Jimbo the cat, the objective was to create a camera that could do all that in full HD, uploading it to an encrypted YI Cloud and connecting the user through an intuitive mobile APP experience. In the final design, we were able to smartly pack all these features into a slim, portable and friendly product that stood discreetly in the home, giving a remote experience for homeowners to feel secure and connect with their loved ones.
Given YI’s rapid growth and the increasing variety of products, it was important for WILDDESIGN to create a strong and coherent corporate identity from the beginning. As a Chinese brand with big global aspirations, there was a clear intention to compete with the top international players via striking industrial design and intelligent technological features. Furthermore, Yi could take advantage of lower manufacturing costs without compromising quality to ensure they offered the same if not better experiences for a fraction of the competitor’s price. The rapid turnaround of product developments toward next generation models meant WILDDESIGN had to formulate design language into technology roadmaps, guaranteeing the process of product management continued smoothly through YI’s future growth.
In between sedated homely vibes and the world of high-octane sports lies the world of everyday driving or as most of us are accustomed to calling it, commuting. In a world of smarter living and cliff top selfies, the idea of smarter and more connected driving took a little longer to integrate within our lives. In 2015, YI commissioned WILDDESIGN to design & develop a dashboard camera showcasing ADAS, an Advanced Driving Assistance System that could analyse real-time driving data and send intelligent alerts to improve driving style or warn of imminent dangers. The final design incorporated a metallic coated Polyurethane shell that subtly looked at home within car interiors and could remain resistant to the sun’s unrelenting glare whilst passing the demands of wear, abrasion, corrosion, hot & cold changes and impact tests. Aesthetically, an oblong detail synonymous with YI’s products was included to tie the design language together. Now in its second generative model, the dash camera along with recent developments such as the compact dash camera plus and the newly developed Mirror Dash Camera, continue to be push smarter driving as a key brand and product component within YI’s identity.
With a portfolio built across home security, action sports and smarter driving, YI focused their eyes most recently upon the world of VR and commissioned WILDDESIGN to design their first Dual Lens Camera that featured 3D, 5.7K resolution capabilities in the palm of a hand. With a surplus of supporting accessories from 3-axis gimbals and smart doorbells to panoramic microphones and camera mounts, WILDDESIGN’s partnership with YI has brought about a colossal amount of design output that has met the strict and demanding time constraints of both the market and YI’s original aspiration. Within a relatively short period, we have brought intelligent functionality and memorable user experiences to a yearning market of high-end professionals, drivers, homeowners, parents and kids.