Celebrating four decades of breakthrough innovation, frog design will mark its anniversary by kicking off the 16th annual SXSW Interactive Festival on Saturday, March 14th, once again hosting the official opening night party that brings together digital creatives as well as visionary technology entrepreneurs.
"For the last 40 years, frog has been focused on helping our clients to create meaningful products and experiences that improve people's lives," said Doreen Lorenzo, president of frog design. "This is a tremendous milestone, and as a long time supporter of SXSW, there is no better community to help us celebrate the occasion as we move into one of the most exciting times in the company's history."
frog's trajectory has seen the company grow from a traditional industrial design boutique to a global innovation firm with unparalleled expertise in providing strategic end-to-end product design and development for Fortune 500 clients. A long-term design partner for HP, frog's recent work includes the HP Halo family of virtual meeting solutions, the new HP Mini 1000 Mi Edition netbook, and the TouchSmart PC. The firm's award-winning interfaces for Alltel Celltop and Sprint OneClick are setting new precedents in user-friendly design for mobile. As digital brand stewards for GE's corporate website, frog helps GE to effectively use visual storytelling via the web to communicate to its diverse audiences. frog is also pioneering innovation in healthcare with its recent collaboration on Project Masiluleke, an initiative to fight HIV and AIDS in South Africa through mobile technology.
frog's rich history began in Germany in 1969 when designer Hartmut Esslinger founded the firm around a single guiding principle: "form follows emotion." An adaptation of the familiar phrase "form follows function," the new maxim set the tone for frog's design philosophy by declaring that a product's effect upon its user was as vital as its functionality. Esslinger's focus on using design to improve the everyday life of the individual would go on to influence significant work for German electronics giant Wega, and lead to a decades long partnership with Sony. The collaboration generated more than 100 products, including the mold-breaking black-box Sony Trinitron TV.
The work for Sony would attract the attention of Steve Jobs, and in 1981 frog established a studio in California to help launch the Apple IIC, which was then named "Design of the Year" by TIME Magazine and inducted into the permanent collection at the Whitney Museum of Art.
Since then, frog has continuously expanded beyond its industrial design roots, evolving to better address the technological and cultural developments of the marketplace. In the 1980s, the company took on corporate branding, recognizing the value of a consistent user experience across platforms - from product design and engineering to graphics, logos, packaging, and production. Its redesign of the Logitech products and brand identity led the computing giant to secure a number-one market position. A few years later, frog reexamined the entire Lufthansa operation - from airport signage and plane interiors to the flatware used for in-flight dining. By exploring the interactions between various consumer touch points, frog helped brands create more meaningful product and service experiences.
In the 1990s, frog launched a Digital Media group and began growing its expertise in user interface design. Its 1999 redesign of SAP's enterprise software fostered new levels of efficiency in business management worldwide; its 2000 web design of Dell.com set the standard for e-commerce; and its 2001 collaboration with Microsoft helped create the look and feel for Windows XP - touching the lives of millions of consumers across the globe.
Today, frog has a global presence with nine studios across the US, Europe and Asia. The firm brings together a team of more than 400 designers, strategists and technologists to provide clients with meaningful solutions to face business challenges across multiple categories and industries.
"Innovation has demonstrated a powerful ability to tackle some of the world's most pressing problems," said Lorenzo. "We look forward to further building on our industry's growing impact, expanding the influence we have had over the last 40 years, and continuing to foster a culture of creativity that offers leaders in business, technology, and design clear ways to address the issues they now face."
In addition to the celebration at SXSW, frog will mark its 40th anniversary with the release of the book, A Fine Line: How Design Strategies Are Shaping the Future of Business, by Founder Hartmut Esslinger, to be published by Jossey-Bass in July 2009. The firm will also release a special issue of its award-winning publication design mind, and undertake a series of activities related to the anniversary to be announced later in the year.