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  6. The birth of the COOLPIX design

The birth of the COOLPIX design

COOLPIX design is supported by originality and a global viewpoint

Where do design ideas come from?

Generally, designers come up with their own original ideas. Each designer thoroughly investigates and considers the design of products as tools, designs that will consistently demonstrate value over the years, and designs that will forever remain popular and attractive with customers. While some designers take hints from the metals and operational feel of antique cameras, others are inspired by the beautiful curves of furniture. However, in designing cameras as tools, we must also examine potential customers' sense of values, as well as the shape, colors and materials demanded by target customers. It is also important that we predict the ways in which these customers' lifestyles and environments will change in the future. Our job is to propose designs that cover all possible angles and instill in customers the sense that this is the camera they have been waiting for. Another aspect that we must always keep in mind is that Nikon customers span the globe. As preferences regarding design vary greatly by region, we are always gathering relative information. For example, we participate in talks with overseas volume retailers. We designers also speak directly with Nikon staff and retail buyers in the U.S. and Europe to acquire information on aspects such as the shapes and colors that are preferred by customers in those regions. This gives us insight into what is happening in the world's compact digital camera markets, as well as what is demanded by these markets.

Hundreds of mockups exhibiting various colors and textures are created. Of these, prototypes are made of the colors that best express product values.

What sort of global view is required for camera design?

First, we examine the demands for Nikon COOLPIX cameras of various consumers in each country. In considering designs, we analyze products' major sales regions, and also analyze and predict market movement and customer needs in those regions. While an orthodox camera design that emphasizes function, like that of SLR cameras, is preferred in some regions, a design that appears more innovative may be preferred in others. Therefore, we determine the style of a particular design with an awareness of these trends. Preferences regarding color also vary greatly by region. For a model that emphasizes a slim and fashionable body, for example, purple is very popular in the U.S., black is preferred in Europe, and red is well-received the world over.
Maintaining an awareness of all regional and cultural aspects, including the latest fashion trends and color preferences, allows us to develop color strategies. Using the COOLPIX S3000, which was released in a wide variety of colors, as an example, roughly 50 prototypes were created just to decide on the final colors of the camera. In checking each prototype, we finally chose the colors that provided an appearance in line with the product concept and that were casual, yet suitable for a camera. Thus, though prototypes are developed with a specific country or region in mind, the ever changing and diversifying values and trends of all regions of the world are incorporated one at a time until final designs are achieved.

Future goals for COOLPIX design

The COOLPIX design team

What are your goals for the future of COOLPIX design?

As advances in mobile devices such as cellular telephones continue, we are beginning to see the fusion of digital cameras and such devices on the market. The shape of compact digital cameras is rapidly changing and overwhelming advances are predicted. For example, I think we can expect to see the development of technologies that completely change the inherent characteristics of products. For cameras, such advances may take the form of advances in image sensor and image processing technologies, or the development of LCD displays in a variety of shapes. I think the goal of COOLPIX design should be the stress-free connection of customers to these future technologies. In addition, as the global market is expanding, especially in rapidly developing countries like Brazil, Russia, India and China, we must come up with designs that represent a more global view and respond to the needs of customers with different sets of values. We will continue to repeat the challenges unique to COOLPIX, offer new value for compact digital cameras, and expand the future based on the primary concepts of COOLPIX design: design that suggests the inherent value and quality of the camera, and design that encourages the expectation of possibilities with a single glance. That is our goal and mission for the future. I want to design COOLPIX cameras that provide users the world over with the surprise and joy that only Nikon can offer through designs that more clearly express the unique characteristics of each model, whether that be with authentic, Nikon-like designs, or more advanced designs that suggest the future. I think that people can look forward to great things from COOLPIX and Nikon in the future.

The history of COOLPIX design


The COOLPIX brand is born. The first model, the COOLPIX 100, is released.

The slim body, small enough to fit in a jacket pocket, was a distinctive feature of the camera. It attracted a great deal of attention with its innovative function as a PC card type digital camera that allowed it to be inserted in a computer's PCMCIA card slot for image transfer.


The COOLPIX 900, the first camera with a swiveling structure, is released.

This was the first COOLPIX model constructed with a swivel design that allowed for 270° rotation of the lens housing. As the lens housing could be rotated to nearly any angle, this feature further increased the enjoyment of photography.


The fully metallic, square COOLPIX SQ is released.

The ultra-compact 3× Zoom Nikkor lens, housed in a swiveling structure, offered excellent image quality (for the time) and allowed for a fully metallic, square camera that was compact and slim enough to fit in the palm of the hand.


The COOLPIX lineup is restructured to offer the S, P and L series*, and COOLPIX design receives a makeover. The first S-series model, the COOLPIX S1, is released.

The COOLPIX S1 offered a new design and functions that increased shooting capabilities, as well as those for viewing and sharing still images and movies. The camera was strategically developed as a fashionable and slim camera available in multiple colors.


The COOLPIX S5 with its wave surface design is released.

The wave surface design that gives the body a curved, wave-like appearance was introduced with this model, which offered improvements over the COOLPIX S1. This model incorporated both a beautiful design and advanced functions. It was also the first model to incorporate a rotary multi selector that made viewing pictures easy and fun.


The COOLPIX S500, the world's most compact digital camera that also offers the world's fastest power-up time and release time lag (at the time), is released.

A new high-quality line that pushed the limits of camera function and performance was established apart from the COOLPIX S5 and its successors, which offered innovative design and functions. The metallic feel of the front of the stainless steel body established the camera as a new COOLPIX model.


The COOLPIX S70 with a touch panel display and the COOLPIX S1000pj, the world's first camera equipped with a compact projector, are released.

The COOLPIX S70 and COOLPIX S1000pj, which inherited the basic features of the COOLPIX S5 that introduced many innovations to the S series, were introduced. The S70 was equipped with an OLED touch panel display and designed with a metal dual texture design in a variety of colors, with focus on color, material, and finish (CMF). Equipped with a compact projector, the S1000pj proposed a new form of communication for cameras.


The COOLPIX S8000, the world's slimmest camera offering 10x optical zoom is released.

The S8000 represented the latest model in the high-quality line established with the COOLPIX S500, and inherited all of the basic features of that model. The S8000 was distinctive for its slim and elegant design that emphasized its superior performance. It was equipped with four features-less noise at high sensitivities, Motion Detection function, lens-shift vibration reduction (VR) function, new flash control system-that enabled capture of beautiful nighttime shots, made possible with the adoption of a newly developed image processing engine.

  • *S series: Models incorporating advanced functions and stylish design
    P series: Models offering greater flexibility through a variety of advanced functions designed as high-end C-DSCs.
    L series: Entry-level models that enable certain capture of beautiful images by even beginners