Acco is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of branded academic, consumer and business products. It is home to two of the biggest names in office equipment: Rexel, a household name in the UK; and Leitz, a premium European brand of products designed for exceptional performance and style.
Our Industrial Design lead, Andy, has been working with Acco since 2013. Having worked across numerous ranges of office products, Andy has a great deal of experience and expertise in design for the sector. His work on the hugely successful iLam Home Office Laminator in 2013 established Leitz’ brand language: the striking product profile and iconic concave top seen across their product range to this day.
Andy’s relationship with Acco continued when the company started working with OPD several years ago. Since then, we have worked with them across a wide range of office products including shredders, whiteboards and stationery.
Acco tasked Andy and the team at OPD with designing two new shredder ranges - Autofeed and Protect - for each of the Leitz and Rexel brands - a total of forty-three products. The Autofeed ranges were to be large scale, professional models designed for heavy use, while the Protect ranges would be smaller machines for home and small office use.
In terms of aesthetics alone, there were a number of factors to consider. First of all, these new ranges should embody the existing recognised brand language for Rexel and Leitz ranges, maintaining distinction both from one another and from the existing manual feed machines for each brand. The brand language itself should evolve to create a fresh look and feel for the new products.
The products should appear bold and striking, commanding attention even when shown as small images on the pages of Amazon and office stationery catalogues.
"The way we work with the team at Acco is truly collaborative,” explains Andy. “We start by producing hundreds of concept sketches to explore various forms, finishes and interfaces. We stick them all up on a board and review them as a team — honing in on the aspects we like, throwing out the ones we don’t. We take the preferred concepts back to the drawing board to refine them further, until we’ve found the perfect solution."
The team first perfected the Protect ranges for the Rexel models with a sleek black and silver colour palette and playful, charismatic asymmetric styling details, designed to appeal to home and small office users. The range features an integrated handle for ease of use with a traditional lift-off head.
The Leitz Protect range was created in an elegant white and silver colourway, with premium styling details and features such as a super-quiet motor, clean emptying and professional-level security aspects such as pin code access and high cut levels.
The Autofeed ranges on the other hand are much larger units for office environments, designed with a more rugged appearance, while still embodying the recognisable visual language of their respective brands.
Andy and Rupert were fortunate enough to meet Acco’s manufacturers in early 2020 at Paperworld - the world’s biggest stationery trade fair - where they were guests of Acco. Since that meeting, we have developed a strong working relationship with the manufacturers, working closely with the team in China to ensure that our design intent is maintained throughout the manufacturing process.
We’re really proud of this work, and want to extend a huge thank you to the team at Acco for their forward thinking, collaborative approach. The products were released to the market in February this year and we’re looking forward to seeing how they perform in the market in the coming months.