Weaving Context from
Future Needs

Phillip Rose

Sony's design philosophy spoken by a Senior producer

Creating new standards is about
creating new paradigms

What are your thoughts on the Sony Design Philosophy?

When I first saw the words “Create New Standards,” I thought that it was a new interpretation of our founder’s principle: to do what has never been done before. I felt it was about taking on the challenge of making the impossible possible, or in other words, creating new paradigms.

To be a pioneer is
to always be
one step ahead.
This video is a computer graphic representation of what Sony’s designer Phillip Rose said about “Visionary” of the Sony Design Philosophy.

The three elements of the Sony Design Philosophy are “Visionary,” “Integrity” and “Empathy.” I believe being “Visionary” is something all designers should aspire to. We need to always be looking one step ahead, which includes determining whether a concept is feasible.

‘Integrity’ - an important
benchmark to keep in mind
This video is a computer graphic representation of what Sony’s designer Phillip Rose said about “Integrity” of the Sony Design Philosophy.

“Integrity” is about bringing new methods into traditional design fields and always striving to reinvent people’s standards and experiences. It’s an important benchmark to keep in mind while engaging in day-to-day work.

“Empathy” is about understanding social contexts, consumer needs and people in general. We cannot change people’s lives for the better without empathy.

Of these three elements, I place the most emphasis on “Integrity.” That’s because it’s closely related to personal values and sincerity of intention. I also believe that Sony has a culture of refusing to compromise and always maintaining an integrity of quality standards, both philosophy and practice.

‘Empathy’ – to change people’s
lives for the better
This video is a computer graphic representation of what Sony’s designer Phillip Rose said about “Empathy” of the Sony Design Philosophy.

Do you have any fond memories of a Sony product?

The TR-63 radio was my first contact with a Sony product. It was born the same year I was, so it’s a particularly memorable product for me. In my teen years, I used to listen to musicians like David Bowie and Iggy Pop late into the night on the TR-63.

Experiences are increasingly important today as we create designs in diverse fields. For example, the Hidden Senses exhibition at Milan Design Week 2018 was a great way to exemplify Sony’s unique creativity.

The TR-63 pocketable transistor radio

Designers must engage in continuous learning
with an open and humble mind

What do you value as a Sony designer?

Sony’s designers are tasked not just with creating practical solutions but also communicating with the users on a symbolic or emotional level. That means possessing the ability to create value and inspire a broad range of people. We also spend a lot of time figuring out the details of a design and coming up with its final form, because doing so is necessary if we want to pursue “Integrity.” This is a crucial quality that all Sony designers should strive for. It’s a quality we acquire through countless discussions with fellow designers, so it’s important for us to engage in continuous learning with an open and humble mind. I believe that work based on “Integrity” will ultimately lead to creating even better designs and designs that no one has ever seen before.

In the 2016 film Passengers, we designed an advanced communication device to fit the film’s futuristic setting. The project was deeply rooted in the “Visionary” element of the Sony Design Philosophy since we had to imagine what life would be like several hundred years from now.

In the interactive digital field, demonstrations that draw on “Empathy,” like the aforementioned Hidden Senses exhibition, take on a central role. In this field, designers are working with people’s experiences. To be successful, we need to understand people on a fundamental level, so “Empathy” is key. Furthermore, “Empathy” is also crucial to understanding what life will be like in the post-COVID-19 age of the new normal.

‘Hidden Senses’ exhibited at Milan Design Week 2018

How can design contribute to the world in the future?

Understanding the future requires listening to diverse opinions, so teamwork is essential. One of Sony Design’s greatest strengths is being able to bring together a diverse team of unique talents and skills, both men and women, from different countries, who then work together toward a common goal. Exceptional ideas are born from exceptional teamwork.

We have also been working on more spatial designs recently, which goes to show how the possibilities of the field are growing as a result of the limitations placed on society by the pandemic. I find this very interesting. Through research and practical work, we strive to understand people’s needs regarding issues such as creating comfortable spaces and finding ways to allow people to return to offices. Based on this, we create designs from scratch and select appropriate materials with spatial planning and sustainability in mind. Right now, I’m most interested in finding context within people’s future needs.

With Founder Morita at Sony Headquarters

Phillip Rose

Phillip joined the company in 1991. Since starting out as a product designer, has undertaken a variety of multi-disciplinary.
Senior management roles whilst part of the creative team at Design Centre Europe in London.