Over the past several decades, we’ve cultivated some significant long-term relationships with our clients; reaching all the way back into the 1950’s, our partnership with Bosch has been one of the longest running and largest in scale. This relationship has not only stood the test of time, but has also outlasted several significant management changes.
A Twist 0f 1950’s Fate
The Atomic Age – an era marked by a growing need for technological innovation – served as the backdrop for our first encounters with Bosch. Bosch was beginning to flourish again after the post-war economic downturn, and the company had decided to pour efforts into household products and power tools. In what was referred to the “Period of the Unknown”, Bosch was tasked with producing for a society that suddenly had a higher income and more free time than ever before. Research and development was only just starting to play an important role in the development of products, and picking what to produce was still often done by guesswork.
Hans Erich Slany – one of the first German industrial designers – happened to be in the right place at the right time in 1956 when he founded a design agency near Bosch’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. At that time, Slany already had a great deal of expertise in power tools and household appliances, and he had done enough experimenting on his own to come up with radical ideas and a big agenda.
A Partnership is Born: The Period of Ergonomics Begins
Understanding the role of metal is the 1950’s provides crucial historical context to Slany’s story; during that time, metal was an essential building block for countless consumer products. Bosch produced the majority of their products with metal – including cooking utensils, umbrella frames, and power tools. Slany had the breakthrough idea to instead use a plastic casing for power tools – making them lighter, easier-to-use, and less likely to cause repetitive strain injuries. When Slany found that plastics could be engineered to be just as durable and heat-resistant as metal, he approached Bosch with the game-changing idea. The new partnership led to the first generation of plastic power tools in the world.
Prof. Hans Erich Slany, founder of TEAMS
New Management on Both Sides
Slany’s relationship with Bosch was the start of a 60-year run with the industry giant, but as the veteran designer looked forward to retirement, the future of the partnership was in question.
Mention Bosch to Hans-Peter Aglassinger, and the first thing you’ll see is a smile brimming with motivation. Aglassinger came to TEAMS as an industrial designer in 1987 and immediately dove into working with the brand.
“I have always been enthusiastic about our partnership,” he said. “This is a partnership characterized by empathy, mutual trust, and appreciation.” As he advanced to being the design lead for the Bosch power tool division, he continued to infuse Slany’s approach human-centered design into new projects.
When Uwe Raschke stepped in as president of Bosch power tools, the two companies began collaborating even more closely. Adopting a methodology that was highly tuned into the user’s experience of both the product and the brand, the new leadership examined the brand with a renewed vigor to innovate. Their next big step? To create a cohesive visual identity that spanned across the entirety of Bosch’s business.
A Bright Future
The same principles are here at TEAMS today. As time passes and technology evolves, we’ve strived continuously to refine and evolve a brand language to best represent the essence of Bosch.
One thing is for certain – the camaraderie and optimism between Bosch and TEAMS is never in short supply. After stepping into a new role at Bosch to become a member of the board of management, Raschke took a moment to thank Aglassinger. As he departed his party, he stopped to affectionately grab Aglassinger and exclaim, “This is the best designer in the industry!”
60 years strong – a major point of pride for the TEAMS family worldwide.