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Annual Design Awards: CONSUMER PRODUCTS GOLD
KODAK'S CAMERA IN A WET SUIT
Kodak Fun Saver Sports Camera
Designer: Eastman Kodak Co.
The rugged sports look is definitely a leitmotif for this year's crop of products. Just glance at the gold-winning Kodak Fun Saver Sports Camera, all wrapped in rubber with eye-catching colors.
Eastman Kodak Co. wanted to extend its current one-time-use--"disposable" is out--waterproof camera to any outdoor sport. People hiking, biking, boating, or playing volleyball on the beach could capture the moment with the camera. So it had to have some serious attitude for fun and be tough enough to survive rough use.
The design team did research in the U.S. and Germany and found that consumers wanted products that could take a punch. Kodak replaced the plastic of its underwater camera with a tough rubber "wet suit" that's easy to grip with one hand. Then it designed an oversize film-advance knob with a large shutter button that can be used when wearing gloves. It made sure virtually all the parts get recycled or reused, too. Being green is part of the marketing effort.
Two cameras won gold awards in 1997: Canon Inc.'s elegant stainless steel ELPH, priced at $420, and the sporty, rubberized Kodak Fun Saver, priced at $12.95. Both were excellent examples of terrific design.By Bruce Nussbaum in New York