Great design starts with knowing your customer

We’ve recently had a lot of reasons to celebrate in the Kingfisher design team. Four reasons, in fact, after four of our own exclusive brand products were recognised by two of the design industry’s leading awards programmes – the Red Dot Design Award and the iF Design Award.

These awards are a testament to the team’s hard work over the last few years to work together in new ways to achieve our mission to make good design affordable and accessible to our customers. Every week, we’ve been working together with multiple disciplines across product categories, customer insight and trend research, product design and engineering to get under the skin of the problems customers face in their homes and identify what we can do to make things better.
 
At Kingfisher, our design philosophy starts with a deep understanding of our customers and how they live in their homes. We combine the work of our insights team with trend analysis to identify changes around how we live in and improve homes that will dictate the future of our customers’ decisions around the home - helping us stay ahead of what they will need, and design products that will make their lives easier.
 
Take our GoodHome Romesco sink, born out of the insight that space in kitchens is often tight, our customers need an efficient, multi-functional work area. Rather than taking up precious worktop space for one use only, the Romesco sink includes cleverly integrated accessories that create extra flexible space within the sink bowl, from washing and draining features to extra chopping space.
 
The simplest solutions are often the best ones. So as part of our design process, our team challenges one another to remove complexity wherever possible. We always design to meet the need or solve the problem, rather than a preference or short-term behaviour.
 
The GoodHome Iriya connected heaters – a winner in both of the awards – are a prime example of democratising complex technology to make it accessible. The Iriya is an automated heater that anticipates the user’s heating needs based on their habits and helps them to reduce energy consumption, making our customers’ lives simpler and greener, and reducing energy bills.
 
No matter how complex the technology that sits behind a product, good design means nothing if it’s not accessible. Crucially, it’s important that the products we design as a team are affordable for our customers. We begin by defining the problem we want to solve, conceptualising the possible solution, and then finding ways to develop and supply the product at scale so that it’s affordable – without compromising on quality and so that no one is priced out of great design.
 
Our GoodHome Nyasa bathroom tap is one of the most affordable products of its type on the market. Our team rethought the construction of the tap to be uncompromising when it comes to ergonomics and functionality, as well as to help make customers’ homes a little greener by reducing water consumption by 40%. Providing an affordable option for customers looking for a tap that doesn’t cost the earth.
 
The success of these three products at recent industry awards, alongside our GoodHome painting and decorating tools, are the result of our growing ambition as a design team. Developing an industry-leading portfolio of own exclusive product ranges is a key part of our Powered by Kingfisher strategy, and these now account for 44% of Kingfisher’s £12bn annual sales. When our retail banners stock these products – B&Q, Castorama, Brico Dépôt, Screwfix – customers can rest assured that they’re getting good quality products that aren’t available elsewhere and which meet their high expectations for usability and sustainability. We’ve spent time over the last few years building our team to make the most of our existing talent, and recruiting others to join us in our mission to make good design affordable and accessible to our customers. From industrial designers to product engineers and stylists, our team blends knowledge and expertise to develop exclusive products for customers across Europe.
 
I want to take a moment to thank all the colleagues who played their part in developing these award-winning products, and who continue to surprise and challenge each other to go further. As a team we are extremely proud and grateful for the recognition we have received, and it inspires us to achieve even more for our customers in future.