I was part of the design team responsible for Philips Steam Iron in my role as Senior Industrial Designer at Philips Design.
Before we started the project to design a new steam iron, we did a lot of insight sessions with consumers. We didn't ask for feedback and response on design, but instead tried to understand and get insight in what consumer think and values. Quite a experience to spend so many hours hearing people talking about ironing, something I never really considered before. Anyway, it made me realize more about what the consumer wants, expects and values.
We wanted the design to look more dynamic and agile. Actually, if we could just make it a little more exciting to iron you tea towels (as quite some people do, I discovered) then we would improve the experience.
We created a design that visually links the handle and the ironing plate, the inspiration was actually wet-razors, to communicate agility and control. We really improved the water filling as part of the design, a source for a lot of irritation, and this feature and design character has since been applied to the whole portfolio.
The Easycare iron was launched in 2006 and has been a success and is still in production.