The pace in which electronics change is so fast. I’m always amazed at how technology can innovate continuously. Even with the issues faced so far in 2020, humanity is still able to sustain their passion for technological advancement.
ASUS’s most representative notebook series, the Zenbook Series, through the past and into the future, is our pursuit of the ultimate image of technology to satisfy users all over the world.
We invited the Zenbook Classic team to share their design concepts.
Hsi: How was the Zenbook devised? How were social considerations made or market trends analyzed?
Minami: The ZenBook classic is an affordable office product that balances beauty and function. Easy to use and beautiful is the spirit of the ZenBook Classic. This year we embodied that spirit by optimizing the product line.
Hsi: Did your preliminary user research lead to any interesting findings?
Minami: In our global surveys, users responded positively to the ZenBook’s narrow frame and thin body. The ZenBook, from beginning to end, is about quality design. But for us to evolve the ZenBook, we need to think about more than just aesthetics.
Feedback from ZenBook users determined three primary needs: performance, mobility, and last, aesthetics. Factors such as environmental protection, economic turmoil, or changes in business models guided users’ decisions in 2015, compared to now where pure, low-key design is a main contributing factor.
Hsi: Can you describe some design features of the ZenBook Classic?
Minami: ZenBook Classic’s design is a journey of inheritance and evolution. For example, in the previous generation of ZenBook Classic, there were hints of gold where the keyboard connected to the screen. In this year’s design, users commented that the ZenBook is like the jewelry of the notebook world. The fine and eye-catching features of jewelry have become the DNA of the ZenBook. This time we used a diamond-cut finish to make some defining features of the ZenBook to be low key but true to previous iterations.
Left: 2019 ZenBook Classic design, restrained and calm but has identifying characteristics on the ZenBook Classic Keyboard. Right: the latest generation of ZenBook Classic 2020.
Users responded in a global survey that ZenBook has a jewelry-like tone. We’ve continued to improve this characteristic through our fine drilling and cutting process.
Minami: Concentric circles are the defining mark of the ZenBook. The spun-metal finish has evolved over the years, the placement has moved from the center to the side of the cover. This provides a new visual experience and the technique extends the width of the design, creating an elegant star-trail effect.
Henry: Designers are responsible to form sensually rational functions. By utilizing shaving techniques we achieved a sleek body tone. For example, the spine section uses geometry to make the laptop modern while increasing structural integrity.
Early development sketches of the ZenBook Classic.
The side profile shows ZenBook Classic’s sharp outline and easy-to-recognize form factor.
Different profile shapes were tested in the early draft phase.
Henry: As mentioned earlier, the spine of the notebook is the common point of contact when holding or transporting a notebook. We wanted to maximize the sleek and sharp look of the notebook without compromising functions like heat dissipation. In the end, we embraced the heat dissipation holes as stylistic features.
The crease on the side of the notebook’s body communicates a lightness while exaggerating its already very thin body (14.95mm).
Henry: This ZenBook Classic has another design feature that that really delighted a lot of our users. The keyboard is designed after a full-sized keyboard. The Ergonomics Research team collaborated with industrial designers to give the keycap surface a slight curvature to aid in long-term typing situations.
These types of design features would remain hidden unless they’re mentioned. These are features that our design team refers to as “feelings” that users get with a design.
The ZenBook Classic uses a full-sized keyboard, with larger keycaps. This makes the keys clearer and easier to locate.
Subtle curvature of the ZenBook Classic keycaps has been revised by industrial designers and ergonomic researchers.
Hsi: It turns out that there can be so much ingenuity in the thin and light design of ZenBook Classic. Are there any techniques used in the manufacturing process to overcome challenges?
Minami: The long-term goal of product designers is to use simple and clever methods to design thoughtful and useful products. Optimizing the manufacturing process and construction materials is also a long-term challenge that we are advancing step by step.
One way designers achieved a responsible process was to optimize the metal stamping method. In addition to cutting, the process quickly folds and stamps the material to minimize the excessive use of materials. This also achieves a seamless solid body.
This process echos back to the craftsmanship spirit of the ZenBook but also responsible design. Designers shouldn’t just consider aesthetics, but also small invisible details that equate to big changes for the world.
Industrial designers assess the metal stamping outcome.
Hsi: ZenBook Classic has launched in two colors, how are these colors selected?
Fiona: ASUS Design Center conducts solid trend research every year to see how world trends affect people’s emotions and desire for color. Usually, consumer electronics don’t use trend colors directly because laptops aren’t purchased with the same intent as fast fashion. The color must consider the function and tone of the brand with the product line, and then adjust it with the trend.
The past decade has been committed to craftsmanship and a human-centered approach for the implementation of new technology on ZenBooks. Every generation of ZenBooks uses unique colors and materials to provide an emotional response to that new technology.
Considering worldwide trends ranging from the technology industry to the automotive industry, products are becoming more clean, pure, and low-key. Pine Gray and Lilac Mist, emphasizes ZenBook’s clean image and communicates a warm and faint impression.
ZenBook Classic’s color trend mood board, with Pine Gray on the left and Lilac Mist on the right.
Fiona: The thin and light laptop segment uses dark or silver colors to signal professionalism. For the ZenBook Classic, we wanted to make the colors neutral in terms of age and gender. The Pine Gray is a relaxed color and Lilac Mist is like the glow of dawn, both without overstating the luxury aspect of the product. These two colors communicate the taste of the ZenBook stably.
Fiona: Although these colors look easy to achieve, it is a complicated research and development process. Hundreds of materials are available for individual parts of notebooks: getting them visually consistent is a difficult process.
It is challenging to accurately tune the perfect color on different materials.
There are a lot of quality products available in the world. Innovation in products is one defining factor for good design, but improving generationally signals longevity in a product. Through continued iterations of design, we find and deliver sincere solutions through the ZenBook Classic.
Finally, check out the modern product video of ZenBook Classic UX325 UX425!
Read more about Asus ZenBook 13 UX325 & Asus ZenBook 14 UX425
Great Laptop. It’s got all the good gear 5 starts for that. Ho much better could it have been if the screen was able to open flat and flip the image so as my presentations to clients are more professional.. not having to turn the laptop around while awkwardly pointing over their shoulder to certain parts of my project.
This would have been an 11 out of 10 if the Screen was able to open flat and the image flipped. Useful for when showing clients the great work I do. The laptop does not need to be turned around. Just open the screen flat on the table and show what’s on the screen in all its glory. .. maybe next year?