Thu, Oct 13, 2005 - Page 13 News List

Better by design

SQV Design stands out from the crowd with its cutting-edge concepts and strategies

By Ho Yi  /  STAFF REPORTER

Company founder Daniel Koo.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SQV DESIGN INTERNATIONAL INC

If you walk into the office of SQV Design International (漢邦國際設計) on Renai Road you will first see a spotless glass entrance and a bright, minimalist space. Further inside, there are two rooms whose white walls are covered with post-it stickers, with sketches and key words written all over them.

It looks like a designer's playground and it is, to a certain extent. "Everything starts from here. This is where our designers do brainstorming and free association, sometimes with our customers too," marketing and sales supervisor Gloria Sun (孫承萱) said. And she has every right to be proud of her company.

Following closely behind Japan and South Korea, Taiwan's industrial design sector has gradually gained international recognition and has become a frequent visitor on the global design scene.

With nearly 20 years of experience in the field, SQV is the biggest independent design firm in Taiwan, with numerous international design awards under its belt, such as the IF Design Award in Germany, the IDEA Design Award in US and the Good Design Award in Japan. Over the years, the design team has developed a wide range of ideas, from hi-tech IT products to household appliances and medical devices. It has built up a long list of clients, including major enterprises such as Acer Corp, Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), High Tech Computer Corp (宏達電) and the Tsann Kuen Group (燦坤實業).

The founder of the company, Daniel Koo (顧明德), started his design career in the late 1980s in the US and then dabbled in Taiwan's market. In 1991, Koo decided to settle in Taiwan and established SQV Design's forerunner, the I+U design team.

"I came back to Taiwan with a clear goal and direction in mind, that is, to inject global views in local manufacturing businesses. Since Taiwan is an exporting country it needs international design concepts to enhance the value and marketability of its products," Koo said.

In 2003, I+U joined SQV Group and expanded into an extensive firm that also included mechanical design, marketing and sales, and project management. Now the firm can boast not just innovative design but a complete range of services ranging from brand-building to setting a marketing strategy. With its own research teams, SQV can carry out a project all the way from product appearance, to market analysis, to consumer behavior research, to product launch planning and sales-channel counselling.

"Every product needs marketability. To design a product you need to understand the market. By taking such aspects into consideration, we can create an identity for the product, a story behind the design that our clients can follow and shape their market strategies," Koo said.

"The designers at the firm are able to create market-oriented design with assistance from experts in different fields," Sun said. "When our designers start forming design concepts, they will be joined by our research staff, and together, they will try to answer questions such as, `Who are the targeted users?' `What are their habits and life styles?' `In what situation and environment will the products be used?' `What are the future trends in the market?'"

Not surprisingly, some of the firm's main clients are large electronics manufacturers who are interested in transforming themselves from OEM (original equipment manufacturing) to ODM (original design manufacturing) businesses. Building a brandname is the key to success in the competitive global market these days.

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