Understanding »Hillesheim«, a high-end speaker brand, as facilitator of human experience lead to design decisions informed by research and a deep understanding of the people I designed for: Audiophiles. Those insights built the foundation for a unique branding and storytelling approach in a competitive market.
AUDIOPHILES: At Europes largest high-end audio fair in Munich I leveraged insights using qualitative interviews and observation. By participating in speaker auditions I immersed myself into the core ritual of the audiophile universe: the listening experience.
INSIGHT: Every Audiophiles passion starts with a listening experience of almost spiritual quality, usually at a young age. As they get older however, products become more important than the music, as their system will be constantly judged by their peers.
BUSINESS: To win in a competitive, highly fragmented market, my second focus was market research, supported by expert interviews. I analyzed competition especially on brand positioning, customer experience and storytelling.
INSIGHT: While product quality gets homogenized, »search for perfect sound« remains the prevailing brand message. Most manufacturer's communication is product-focused. Only few dare to experiment with different value propositions.
What I learned from research, is that »perfect sound« can't be measured. Instead it's a highly individual, psychological thing. The industry tends to neglect that a listener's state of mind is arguably more important to the listening experience than the speakers themselves. That's why I asked myself if a simple brand message could change the way people listen: At Hillesheim, we define »perfect sound« as the ability to listen like a child. No biases, no judgements, no worries.
Whether you listen to high-end speakers or you build them, at the core it's about the same thing: passion. Back in 1975, in Mannheim Germany, »Hille«, a 12 year old schoolkid, built his first pair of speakers taking out chassis from old TVs and stereos. Going back to the essential, the story is real – starting from the locations down to the look of those speakers.
Speaker auditions are the brands main touchpoint. In this context a haptic experience is key to convey our values: Representing a heritage rooted in livelong passion, Bernd Hillesheim builds for the individual only. He stands for tradition and craftsmanship and maintains an honest and direct relationship to all of his customers.
Icons represent the four brand values: passion, individuality, craftsmanship and direct distribution. A second set of icons represents product aspects: housing, chassis, crossover and specs.
The cover of the brochure is made of speaker wood veneer by the carpenter who builds the housings. The logo is engraved. The early humanist antiqua »Jenson« gives a warm, handwritten touch which I supported by subtle ligatures in headlines while »Calluna« ensures readability in the body copy.
Client: Hillesheim Lautsprecher
Art Direction, Design, Film, 3D, Music, Photography: Philipp Unterreiner
Actor: Ferdinand Anton
Assistant Camera: Karim Abdelghani
Assistant Sound: Jan Henkel
Press: Ninodruck Neustadt
Bookbinder: Kai Ortlieb