gravitytank is a design consultancy based in Chicago and San Francisco. One fascinating realm of their practice includes the area of food experience design,or FxD. Several designers are members of their FxD team, including a chef-trained culinary designer and others who possess skills in the realms of interaction, communications and industrial design—all of which they use to create innovative food and food-related experiences for consumers. We're excited to have their team of experts serving as judges in our latest 1-Hour Design Challenge, and recently had chat with gravitytank lead designers Eleanor Sandford and Kyleigh Wawak about what food experience design actually is and how to create a memorable food experiences through thoughtful research and observation:
Food experience design is a holistic, user-centered approach to food innovation that considers all aspects of the experience beyond the food or beverage itself. We are an unconventional group of food experts —designers, researchers and strategists—who love to geek out on the little details of what makes a compelling food experience.
We always start with the consumer: what are their lives like? Where are they struggling? What do they value? And let those insights guide our design. Over the past five years of food innovation work we have developed a universal food framework using the values of health, joy and ease that serve as a starting place for hypothesizing and planning food research.
Again, by looking across all aspects of an experience—from shelf to recycling, delivery car to your front door—help to identify where things could be better and helps you to form your own questions. How could Alexa help me cook? Is ocean plastic a better material for a container? That holistic way of thinking paired with a deep understanding of your user can help designers to look at current food issues in a new way.
Although there is a push to think about interface or how to make my appliance more connected, the value of streamlined, space conscious product design is still an important factor to many users. An abundance of appliances do one thing (and in some cases they do that one thing very well) find themselves competing for valuable counter space- so by getting to know the user, and their kitchen, designers can be empowered to make better decisions on how that product lives in the user's home.
The food industry is changing so rapidly and so many of those changes affect what's happening in the kitchen, like meal kit delivery services, smart appliances, and pop-up dinner parties. The kitchen is evolving from a place for the cook to a place for anyone who's interested in food and partaking in food experiences of all kinds.
Design a kitchen tool that truly streamlines your life— send us your sketches for our 1-Hour Kitchen Tool Design Challenge and you could win an OXO On Illuminated Immersion Blender!
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