Bell and Howell Global Design Strategy
Bell and Howell, leaders of production mail inserting and sorting systems, needed to update and unify their line of hundreds of machines and came to Peter Solomon to create a Global Design Strategy and initial design application to one exemplary machine.
Bell and Howell machines are complex with multiple functions which may include folding of papers, printing, creating envelopes, stuffing and tracking all data at incredible speeds. The machines are combinations of a multitude of subsystems, were extremely complex, and ran at very high speeds.
One of the results of on-site contextual research, was learning from plant managers and factory owners that although the machines were designed to give an output of tens of thousands and hour, the efficiency was always less due to the machine operator’s frustration and lack of enthusiasm to identify, get to, and resolve paper jams quickly and get the machine back to running in as little time as possible. Since jams may happen many times in an hour, the operator’s interface with the machine and subsequent well being would be crucial to increasing productivity.
Peter Solomon focused on making the machines pleasant and simple to use. The identification of the problem areas needed to be immediate and apparent on the machine rather than the operator having to refer back to a small monitor, which may be on the other side of the room. Focus was given to making access panels open automatically or move away easily to make the area accessible and ready for the operator as soon as a problem is identified. Small counter surfaces were created to rest tools or removed papers while working on a jam or repair.
Peter Solomon Global Design Strategy focused on creating a unified sleek and clean formal identity, maintaining and emphasizing the brand colors and logos, and making the user experience more efficient, simpler and pleasant for the machine operator in order to increase productivity.
The images the application of the GDS to a specific machine; the Ascender, which inserts communications into envelops and addresses them for mass mailing. There is also an image with comparison of the existing machine and a rendering of resulting Peter Solomon