We sit down with designer Ken Musgrave to chat about the changing landscape of technology and design—and how it all comes together in the HP Tango.
In today’s evolving world of design, users seek experiences and goods with deeper meaning. A printer is no longer just a printer, but also representative of a lifestyle and identity. There’s perhaps no one who understands this better than Ken Musgrave, head of global customer experience and global experience design at HP.
His expertise lies in adding meaning to user experiences and bringing innovation to unexpected places. Take, for instance, his latest creation: the HP Tango. It’s the world’s first printer for the smart home and part of a greater ecosystem connected to a mobile device. You can print, scan, or copy from virtually anywhere via the HP Smart App, integrating seamlessly with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana for voice-activated printing. At the same time, it also provides an emotional experience thanks to a radically new, reimagined design.
With clean lines and a collection of textile wraps, the Tango truly is beautiful. Influenced by a furniture aesthetic rather than the colder, hard lines that have defined technology, it has the ability to transcend its functional use—and the standard office environment—to meld into multiple decorative tastes and exist closer to where life happens.
“This meant bringing complicity to the complexity and both the physical design and emotional experience,” says Ken. “Keeping this in mind, we created Tango with the intent to push the boundaries of the home printing experience in today’s smart lifestyle.”
The idea is to showcase tech capabilities to a group of consumers who may not have realized that there’s a product out there for them. As the culture of the workplace shifts and adapts, Musgrave melds modern design and functionality with the goal of “wow-ing even the chicest of home decorators.”
How did you get started as a product designer?
The design world has fascinated me from a young age—I always wanted to be a designer. I earned an undergraduate degree in product and industrial design from Auburn University, and then continued to Georgia Tech for design graduate school. While studying, I learned that product design was where I could make a real impact—it’s amazing what thoughtful design can do for functionality and for aesthetics.
My first job was working at Thonet—pioneers of modern furniture design. It was then that I learned to appreciate different textures and finishes—like wood, metal and textiles—and understand how to bring the latest in design trends into homes at scale. It’s fun to consider, later in life, how all those experiences were pivotal in the design approach we took for Tango.
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