Research for Product Designs


70 % of the purchase decision depends on the initial visual impression the product makes. Rather than being the expression of spontaneous aesthetic preferences, this is the result of the complex interaction that takes place between factors rooted in gestalt psychology and the communicative performance of the design.

Accordingly, our product tests focus on the design aspect – from the identification of relevant archetypes for the development of the initial design concepts all the way to the definition of a sales-optimizing feature and design mix for the entire range.

Design Lab
Developing innovative product designs in an experimental visual dialogue with the consumer.

Design Lab
Developing innovative product designs in an experimental visual dialogue with the consumer.

Even at the early stage of platform ideas and scribbles, Design Labs accelerate the design process and enhance its efficiency. The goal here is to outline design routes for the product design, compare product expectations with the semiotic qualities of individual design elements, learn from the current design landscape and use creatively playful techniques to try out new approaches. And of course to gather feedback on the initial designs and obtain input for their ongoing development.

In the methodological tradition of Co-Creation and the Creative Lab, the interaction between designers and consumers generates new input for the design development process. Initial solutions are worked out and translated into prototypes and scribbles that are then presented to consumers again. This gives rise to an experimental visual dialogue between the designers and consumers that incorporates customers’ needs and expectations a priori without over-challenging the consumer by expecting him to serve as a “creative designer”.

The Design Lab focuses on projective, associative and creatively playful techniques:

  • Projective and associative exercises on the product category and brand in order to obtain fundamental input on the semiotic quality of design elements.
  • Spontaneous, associative consideration of existing product designs in order to identify fundamental dos and don’ts.
  • Playful, associative Dream Journeys to the sensory experience realms “smell”, “taste”, “touch”, “hear” and “see”
  • A creative, experimental approach to materials, shapes and colours
  • Mind maps on current trends in order to generate more far-reaching input from different contexts.
  • Critical feedback on initial scribbles and design elements

This gives rise to feedback loops that help develop the design: impetus is born, learnings are implemented and verified immediately. Viable and promising design guidelines emerge in a successive process.

Design Screener
Measuring potential and identifying promising routes for ongoing product development.

Design Screener
Measuring potential and identifying promising routes for ongoing product development.

It is precisely the most successful creative processes that entail a problem: variety. A variety of competing ideas and design routes that follow totally different paradigms.

From a strategic perspective, all of them are basically feasible – but which of them is the most promising? Which best conveys the strategic positioning and product concept?

Especially when dealing with a broad spectrum of competing concepts and routes, it is impossible to take them all further and implement them all in a final prototype. Instead, initial designs and renderings have to be used as a basis for selecting the most viable routes at an early stage so as to make the ongoing design development more efficient and effective.

This is where the Design Screener comes in by accelerating and objectifying the strategic decision-making process. The starting point is a multitude of experimental design routes whose potential is to be evaluated. The goal is to assess the inner logic of the individual concepts and their design appeal on the basis of initial renderings:

  • Stopping power and uniqueness
  • Likeability of the idea
  • Structural makeup of the product in the central touchpoints
  • Communication of the relevant functional and emotional benefits
  • Fit with brand values
  • Identification of superordinate design clusters beyond the individual routes in order to recognise key taste patterns and the logic behind them.

Design Booster
Statistics meet creativity:
finding the right design from amongst thousands of creative options.

Design Booster
Statistics meet creativity:
finding the right design from amongst thousands of creative options.

The Design Booster picks up on ideas relating to the individual design elements, sounds out possibilities and combines and analyzes them in order to filter two or three relevant and optimal permutations out of the tangle of possibilities.

Shavers are a good example: three strategically relevant shape variants. Four materials. Six potential finishes. Five colour concepts. Four potential handle variants. Four user interfaces. All these possibilities result in tens of thousands of potential design variants. Many of them are non-starters. But most of them are feasible – at least in principle.

You can’t test them all. But if you don’t want to adopt an artificial and rationalising approach to the product design, you can’t detach individual elements from the overall design and investigate them in isolation either.

This calls for close collaboration between product designers and researchers. And that is precisely what the Design Booster facilitates in concentrated form. The Design Booster combines in-depth qualitative insights on the product design with statistical success projections based on quantitative procedures. This takes place in two steps:

Step 1: Development of sample designs:

  • Statistical and stochastic procedures are used to identify a manageable number of relevant sample designs from amongst thousands of potential permutations of the individual design elements.
  • Each design element is transported into different contexts and has to prove itself in combination with other design elements.
  • The variants thus identified provide the input for the product designers, who now have to incorporate the input creatively and come up with an optimal combination of the various design elements.


Step 2: Testing of the product designs that have been developed as a holistic and harmonious entity consisting of various design elements:

  • Which key design logics and clusters can be identified?
  • How relevant are the individual design parameters? What are the “must-haves”, what are the “nice-to-haves”?
  • What semiotic quality do the individual design elements possess? How can it be used strategically?
  • How can the individual design clusters be enhanced and given an even more distinct profile?

In this way, a differentiated mix of qualitative and quantitative methods is used not just to identify winners and losers but, most importantly of all, to identify design logics and bring them into focus.

Product Performance Check
A dress rehearsal on the test shelf:
quantifying the prospects of success, identifying optimization potential.

Product Performance Check
A dress rehearsal on the test shelf:
quantifying the prospects of success, identifying optimization potential.

In the context of a shelf test, the most promising design ideas are presented in the form of finished dummies and tested under “real life” conditions in the competitive environment. The goal is to analyze the consumer’s selection behaviour, determine the success of the sample products and identify where there is a need for final optimizations.

In order to achieve these objectives, the new designs are tested against their relevant competitors in a studio test. The key criteria are:

  • Stopping power and assertiveness
  • Likeability of the design
  • Involvement of the consumer
  • Emotional and functional qualities of the design
  • Product attributes and features
  • Functional product characteristics
  • Price positioning
  • Uniqueness and differentiation in the competitive environment

Range Optimizer
Identifying profit and sales optimizing strategies for the range:
avoiding cannibalisation, optimizing value creation.

Range Optimizer
Identifying profit and sales optimizing strategies for the range:
avoiding cannibalisation, optimizing value creation.

What features at what price? Even when designing a single product – and even more so when structuring the range – there are some highly complex decisions to be made. The aim: to find the best-possible combination from amongst millions of potential permutations.

This is where the Range Optimizer comes in. The typical questions that this tool answers are: Which price and product strategy will optimize profits and sales? How can cannibalisation effects within the range be avoided? How high is the accepted additional price for additional features and how can the premium price position be maintained?

Due to the highly complex nature of these questions, conjoint analysis is a key component of the Range Optimizer. The analysis and simulations focus on the following aspects:

  • Relevance of the individual product components for the purchase decision
  • Drivers and barriers in relation to product acceptance
  • Optimal prices for different product variants
  • Perceived added value as a result of individual features
  • Optimal product and price strategies in the competitive environment
  • Optimal range design for maximising profits and sales

Sophisticated algorithms and high-performance computers can then be used to run through approx. 5 billion different scenarios and check them for strategic optimums.

Shopper Experience Check
Pre-tail & re-tail: shopper insights for more transparency in the purchase process.

Shopper Experience Check
Pre-tail & re-tail: shopper insights for more transparency in the purchase process.

Observations of behaviour at the Point of Sale show that, even in the case of complex and high-value products, the consumer is able to scan the range of goods available and make his purchase decision within a very short time.

However, the consumer can only reflect on how his decision comes about to a limited extent. Surveys fall short because the consumer often isn’t aware of the drivers that determine his behaviour. In addition, the time and place at which the decision is made are often different to the time and place at which the decision is acted on, because preference-steering predispositions are often formed far in advance. When the consumer is surfing the net. Or talking to colleagues. Or sometimes at the store itself after all. As a result, shopper insights are an important area of focus for marketing interest.

For us, shopper insights don’t start at the POS, they start at home with the consumer: when he writes his shopping list. Or when he’s looking for product information and reports from other buyers online.
At the POS itself – be it offline or online - behavioural observations, interviews and eye-tracking create transparency. What stages does the process go through? What communication tools are used? Which products make it onto the shortlist?

This means breaking the purchase decision down into a multitude of individual dimensions and touchpoints that can potentially influence the decision-making process. Bivariate and multivariate techniques are then used to analyze the influence of the individual dimensions:

  • How relevant are the individual dimensions (such as e.g. product, brand, pack, stickers etc.) for the purchase decision?
  • What determines the details of each individual dimension?
  • How successfully do the individual brands and products work in this respect?

The methodological mix of qualitative accompanied shopping trips and statistical tools for identifying the drivers in the purchase situation combines reliable numbers with qualitative depth of focus, helps pinpoint and understand the relevant touchpoints and their mechanisms and thus develop targeted shopper marketing measures.

Home Placement Check
Benefit delivery in everyday life:
putting products through the endurance test of real life

Home Placement Check
Benefit delivery in everyday life:
putting products through the endurance test of real life

At home, in daily proof, and thus under the hardest conditions imaginable, the products are subjected to an acid test. The test phase, which lasts several weeks and is accompanied by interviews and diaries, focuses on spontaneous initial satisfaction and overall satisfaction after completion of the test phase. Only by combining the two measuring points is it possible to derive a realistic overall picture.

The key parameters are:

  • Performance – overall and at feature level 
  • Problems with usage, preparation, operation
  • Faults, product failures and/or signs of wear and tear
  • Emotional and functional benefits
  • Willingness to repurchase and recommend the product after the test phase

Loyalty Check
Identifying leverage points for sustained brand success:
putting satisfaction and customer loyalty to the test.

Loyalty Check
Identifying leverage points for sustained brand success:
putting satisfaction and customer loyalty to the test.

Customer satisfaction and loyalty are important corporate goals and guarantee a brand’s long-term success. It is crucial to identify which aspects of the product and/or service are relevant for customer satisfaction and loyalty and give them priority when evaluating optimization potential.

  • Measurement of the corporate image and identification of key image dimensions
  • Identification of the relevant touchpoints between customer and product
  • Measurement of respective individual satisfaction as well as strengths and weaknesses
  • Identification of which touchpoints and product and service aspects are relevant for overall satisfaction and customer loyalty
  • Analysis of the link between relevant image dimensions and individual touchpoints with the aim of defining a long-term positioning that conforms to customers’ requirements
  • Differentiation of the results according to individual customer groups and derivation of specific action strategies
  • Benchmarking with relevant competitors

Research for Product Designs


70 % of the purchase decision depends on the initial visual impression the product makes. Rather than being the expression of spontaneous aesthetic preferences, this is the result of the complex interaction that takes place between factors rooted in gestalt psychology and the communicative performance of the design.

Accordingly, our product tests focus on the design aspect – from the identification of relevant archetypes for the development of the initial design concepts all the way to the definition of a sales-optimizing feature and design mix for the entire range.

Design Lab
Developing innovative product designs in an experimental visual dialogue with the consumer.

Design Lab
Developing innovative product designs in an experimental visual dialogue with the consumer.

Even at the early stage of platform ideas and scribbles, Design Labs accelerate the design process and enhance its efficiency. The goal here is to outline design routes for the product design, compare product expectations with the semiotic qualities of individual design elements, learn from the current design landscape and use creatively playful techniques to try out new approaches. And of course to gather feedback on the initial designs and obtain input for their ongoing development.

In the methodological tradition of Co-Creation and the Creative Lab, the interaction between designers and consumers generates new input for the design development process. Initial solutions are worked out and translated into prototypes and scribbles that are then presented to consumers again. This gives rise to an experimental visual dialogue between the designers and consumers that incorporates customers’ needs and expectations a priori without over-challenging the consumer by expecting him to serve as a “creative designer”.

The Design Lab focuses on projective, associative and creatively playful techniques:

  • Projective and associative exercises on the product category and brand in order to obtain fundamental input on the semiotic quality of design elements.
  • Spontaneous, associative consideration of existing product designs in order to identify fundamental dos and don’ts.
  • Playful, associative Dream Journeys to the sensory experience realms “smell”, “taste”, “touch”, “hear” and “see”
  • A creative, experimental approach to materials, shapes and colours
  • Mind maps on current trends in order to generate more far-reaching input from different contexts.
  • Critical feedback on initial scribbles and design elements

This gives rise to feedback loops that help develop the design: impetus is born, learnings are implemented and verified immediately. Viable and promising design guidelines emerge in a successive process.

Design Screener
Measuring potential and identifying promising routes for ongoing product development.

Design Screener
Measuring potential and identifying promising routes for ongoing product development.

It is precisely the most successful creative processes that entail a problem: variety. A variety of competing ideas and design routes that follow totally different paradigms.

From a strategic perspective, all of them are basically feasible – but which of them is the most promising? Which best conveys the strategic positioning and product concept?

Especially when dealing with a broad spectrum of competing concepts and routes, it is impossible to take them all further and implement them all in a final prototype. Instead, initial designs and renderings have to be used as a basis for selecting the most viable routes at an early stage so as to make the ongoing design development more efficient and effective.

This is where the Design Screener comes in by accelerating and objectifying the strategic decision-making process. The starting point is a multitude of experimental design routes whose potential is to be evaluated. The goal is to assess the inner logic of the individual concepts and their design appeal on the basis of initial renderings:

  • Stopping power and uniqueness
  • Likeability of the idea
  • Structural makeup of the product in the central touchpoints
  • Communication of the relevant functional and emotional benefits
  • Fit with brand values
  • Identification of superordinate design clusters beyond the individual routes in order to recognise key taste patterns and the logic behind them.

Design Booster
Statistics meet creativity:
finding the right design from amongst thousands of creative options.

Design Booster
Statistics meet creativity:
finding the right design from amongst thousands of creative options.

The Design Booster picks up on ideas relating to the individual design elements, sounds out possibilities and combines and analyzes them in order to filter two or three relevant and optimal permutations out of the tangle of possibilities.

Shavers are a good example: three strategically relevant shape variants. Four materials. Six potential finishes. Five colour concepts. Four potential handle variants. Four user interfaces. All these possibilities result in tens of thousands of potential design variants. Many of them are non-starters. But most of them are feasible – at least in principle.

You can’t test them all. But if you don’t want to adopt an artificial and rationalising approach to the product design, you can’t detach individual elements from the overall design and investigate them in isolation either.

This calls for close collaboration between product designers and researchers. And that is precisely what the Design Booster facilitates in concentrated form. The Design Booster combines in-depth qualitative insights on the product design with statistical success projections based on quantitative procedures. This takes place in two steps:

Step 1: Development of sample designs:

  • Statistical and stochastic procedures are used to identify a manageable number of relevant sample designs from amongst thousands of potential permutations of the individual design elements.
  • Each design element is transported into different contexts and has to prove itself in combination with other design elements.
  • The variants thus identified provide the input for the product designers, who now have to incorporate the input creatively and come up with an optimal combination of the various design elements.


Step 2: Testing of the product designs that have been developed as a holistic and harmonious entity consisting of various design elements:

  • Which key design logics and clusters can be identified?
  • How relevant are the individual design parameters? What are the “must-haves”, what are the “nice-to-haves”?
  • What semiotic quality do the individual design elements possess? How can it be used strategically?
  • How can the individual design clusters be enhanced and given an even more distinct profile?

In this way, a differentiated mix of qualitative and quantitative methods is used not just to identify winners and losers but, most importantly of all, to identify design logics and bring them into focus.

Product Performance Check
A dress rehearsal on the test shelf:
quantifying the prospects of success, identifying optimization potential.

Product Performance Check
A dress rehearsal on the test shelf:
quantifying the prospects of success, identifying optimization potential.

In the context of a shelf test, the most promising design ideas are presented in the form of finished dummies and tested under “real life” conditions in the competitive environment. The goal is to analyze the consumer’s selection behaviour, determine the success of the sample products and identify where there is a need for final optimizations.

In order to achieve these objectives, the new designs are tested against their relevant competitors in a studio test. The key criteria are:

  • Stopping power and assertiveness
  • Likeability of the design
  • Involvement of the consumer
  • Emotional and functional qualities of the design
  • Product attributes and features
  • Functional product characteristics
  • Price positioning
  • Uniqueness and differentiation in the competitive environment

Range Optimizer
Identifying profit and sales optimizing strategies for the range:
avoiding cannibalisation, optimizing value creation.

Range Optimizer
Identifying profit and sales optimizing strategies for the range:
avoiding cannibalisation, optimizing value creation.

What features at what price? Even when designing a single product – and even more so when structuring the range – there are some highly complex decisions to be made. The aim: to find the best-possible combination from amongst millions of potential permutations.

This is where the Range Optimizer comes in. The typical questions that this tool answers are: Which price and product strategy will optimize profits and sales? How can cannibalisation effects within the range be avoided? How high is the accepted additional price for additional features and how can the premium price position be maintained?

Due to the highly complex nature of these questions, conjoint analysis is a key component of the Range Optimizer. The analysis and simulations focus on the following aspects:

  • Relevance of the individual product components for the purchase decision
  • Drivers and barriers in relation to product acceptance
  • Optimal prices for different product variants
  • Perceived added value as a result of individual features
  • Optimal product and price strategies in the competitive environment
  • Optimal range design for maximising profits and sales

Sophisticated algorithms and high-performance computers can then be used to run through approx. 5 billion different scenarios and check them for strategic optimums.

Shopper Experience Check
Pre-tail & re-tail: shopper insights for more transparency in the purchase process.

Shopper Experience Check
Pre-tail & re-tail: shopper insights for more transparency in the purchase process.

Observations of behaviour at the Point of Sale show that, even in the case of complex and high-value products, the consumer is able to scan the range of goods available and make his purchase decision within a very short time.

However, the consumer can only reflect on how his decision comes about to a limited extent. Surveys fall short because the consumer often isn’t aware of the drivers that determine his behaviour. In addition, the time and place at which the decision is made are often different to the time and place at which the decision is acted on, because preference-steering predispositions are often formed far in advance. When the consumer is surfing the net. Or talking to colleagues. Or sometimes at the store itself after all. As a result, shopper insights are an important area of focus for marketing interest.

For us, shopper insights don’t start at the POS, they start at home with the consumer: when he writes his shopping list. Or when he’s looking for product information and reports from other buyers online.
At the POS itself – be it offline or online - behavioural observations, interviews and eye-tracking create transparency. What stages does the process go through? What communication tools are used? Which products make it onto the shortlist?

This means breaking the purchase decision down into a multitude of individual dimensions and touchpoints that can potentially influence the decision-making process. Bivariate and multivariate techniques are then used to analyze the influence of the individual dimensions:

  • How relevant are the individual dimensions (such as e.g. product, brand, pack, stickers etc.) for the purchase decision?
  • What determines the details of each individual dimension?
  • How successfully do the individual brands and products work in this respect?

The methodological mix of qualitative accompanied shopping trips and statistical tools for identifying the drivers in the purchase situation combines reliable numbers with qualitative depth of focus, helps pinpoint and understand the relevant touchpoints and their mechanisms and thus develop targeted shopper marketing measures.

Home Placement Check
Benefit delivery in everyday life:
putting products through the endurance test of real life

Home Placement Check
Benefit delivery in everyday life:
putting products through the endurance test of real life

At home, in daily proof, and thus under the hardest conditions imaginable, the products are subjected to an acid test. The test phase, which lasts several weeks and is accompanied by interviews and diaries, focuses on spontaneous initial satisfaction and overall satisfaction after completion of the test phase. Only by combining the two measuring points is it possible to derive a realistic overall picture.

The key parameters are:

  • Performance – overall and at feature level 
  • Problems with usage, preparation, operation
  • Faults, product failures and/or signs of wear and tear
  • Emotional and functional benefits
  • Willingness to repurchase and recommend the product after the test phase

Loyalty Check
Identifying leverage points for sustained brand success:
putting satisfaction and customer loyalty to the test.

Loyalty Check
Identifying leverage points for sustained brand success:
putting satisfaction and customer loyalty to the test.

Customer satisfaction and loyalty are important corporate goals and guarantee a brand’s long-term success. It is crucial to identify which aspects of the product and/or service are relevant for customer satisfaction and loyalty and give them priority when evaluating optimization potential.

  • Measurement of the corporate image and identification of key image dimensions
  • Identification of the relevant touchpoints between customer and product
  • Measurement of respective individual satisfaction as well as strengths and weaknesses
  • Identification of which touchpoints and product and service aspects are relevant for overall satisfaction and customer loyalty
  • Analysis of the link between relevant image dimensions and individual touchpoints with the aim of defining a long-term positioning that conforms to customers’ requirements
  • Differentiation of the results according to individual customer groups and derivation of specific action strategies
  • Benchmarking with relevant competitors