The UK Design Council has a new case study up, on how design was used to prop up declining sales of steam irons as well as competing with cheaper asian imports. Here's a snippet.
The product was based on detailed analysis of the market which highlighted two areas for product innovation which would provide real benefit for consumers: making it faster and easier to fill the steam iron with water, and improving stability through reduced weight and bulk.
‘Irons are one of the few products displayed unpacked on retailers shelves,' says product designer and Seymourpowell co-founder Dick Powell. ‘This means they must express brand values and communicate functionality clearly and persuasively through product design.'