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SWYP Reimagining the Printer

They say simplicity is brilliance… and so we set out to simplify a clunky, complicated, and often-wasteful printing process through design, utility, and efficiency. The result: SWYP (See What You Print) – a radically simple concept for printing.

Many companies believe innovation means adding more features. We think innovation comes from better core features. As we started to rethink the printer, our guiding design principle to this stagnant and overlooked peripheral was radical simplicity.

The concept we landed on was a large, 1:1 scale touch-screen, giving the user the ability to see and manipulate the finished result—before it was printed.

Traditional original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are making incremental improvements end up over-complicating what should be a simple process and producing over-bloated boxes that sit in our shelves.

"The fantastic interactivity aside, the SWYP concept is beautifully designed. Compact, sleek, and elegant, the printer’s form strays drastically from contemporary ink-jet space hogs."

Greg Stefano, Cool Hunting, September 21, 2011

"A new printer concept from Artefact, a Seattle-based design firm, radically streamlines the device, packing an intuitive user interface into a radically simplified box design that would appeal to design god Dieter Rams."

Belinda Lanks,fastCompany, April 20, 2011

"Buck has come up with a printer concept that’s unlike any out there. His idea, which Artefact is showing off in a video, looks like a printer that Apple might someday actually make."

Jay Green, Cnet, September 20, 2011

Highlights

On-screen manipulation

The touch screen display allows you to manipulate, crop, rotate, and edit the images directly on the 1x1 display ratio shows you exactly what will print.

Elegant paper tray

Minimal and reminiscent of origami, a hinged foldable paper tray stows neatly on top of the printer; when unfolded its geometry is such that it becomes a rigid tray. Opening or closing the paper tray turns the printer on or off.

An insider’s view

When the ink icon is selected, the interface fades to reveal inside-the-printer information such ink levels and paper quality, as well as commands and navigation.

Simple Connectivity

Easily print from your most relevant sources like mobile devices, cameras, and libraries such as Flickr and Facebook.

Process

Understanding

Through secondary research we assessed the landscape of the consumer printing industry and studied several technologies and use cases that we then projected in order to visualize the changing dynamics and identify the opportunities for innovation.

Ideation

Through a series of brainstorming exercises we generated over 100 concepts, 16 of those we visualize in low-fidelity renders.

Refinement

We selected a concept that was possible to realize with today’s technology but had the ability to capture our vision of innovating the printer. Through a series of rough prototypes, we refined the industrial and interaction models and produced a CAD file for an appearance model.

Storytelling

We filmed a video showcasing a person printing photos from a recent Artefact event at our beloved Sounders soccer game. In it she quickly manipulates the photos on screen selecting portions and changing the resolution settings to save ink and then the picture prints out as seen on the screen.