Design Spotlight: Dyson on Innovation


If you asked the average man on the street to name some brands of vacuums, chances are he will say Dyson or Hoover, depending on whether he lives in the United Kingdom or not.

Dyson is one of the most legendary brands of our day, but only quietly so. You won’t see the sides of buildings draped with cascading ads for vacuums, or flashy Super bowl ads featuring men and women drying their hands in the Dyson Airblade. Despite this, you have probably owned or used a Dyson product in your life. It’s a testament to the noiseless success the Dyson brand has had, especially hard to achieve in an industry as loud as that of vacuums.

The birth of the fabled Dyson vacuum cleaner occurred at a flat in the United Kingdom in 1978. Frustrated with the declining performance of his bagged vacuum cleaner, James Dyson set out to create a bagless vacuum that a) did not lose suction as it picked up dirt and b) was not beholden to the bags, which were a relatively new innovation and a very popular, lucrative industry at the time.

The result was the first Dyson vacuum, the G-Force. Since then, Dyson vacuums have led the industry in cleaning and appliance innovations that reduce waste, effectively utilize energy and last for years and years.

In every industry sector, there is one brand that stands above the rest in terms of craftsmanship, efficacy and reputation; what Cadillac is to cars, and Rolex is to watches, Dyson is to vacuums. High design, high functionality and high style have persevered through the decades and emerged into the new millennium with the same principles that launched the brand ahead of then-giant Hoover.

The impeccable design perfection can be attributed to James Dyson’s time at the Byam Shaw School of Art and the Royal College of Art. History shows us that the most successful and memorable household items are the ones that meld good design with high-functionality. Take, for example the Valentine typewriter, the Eames era, and most of what Apple produced starting with the Macintosh.

Dyson’s reputation has not tarnished over the years and the company remains active and successful in pursuing civil technologies that can be found in the house hold and out in public, like the Airblade hand dryer. You know, the one you were really surprised to see for the first time,

Through our history, we have had companies like Dyson that completely disrupt their industries by challenging established, lucrative marketplaces – in Dyson’s case, it failed to catch on initially because its bagless design threatened the $500 million industry at the time. But once it did catch on, bagged vacuums slowly became relics.

The endeavor to make effective products rather than cash in on current trends points to the philosophy that all great companies in the past have held: that the customer’s needs are more important than the company’s needs. As we move into a new decade dominated by green technologies and unthinkable advances in web innovations, physical design will need to keep up, but Dyson will not have a problem with that.

Thomas is a writer and SEO. He blogs on behalf of Sears and other prestigious brands and spends his free time researching tech brands and writing Mad Libs.

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