This design consultancy had its roots in Esslinger Design, founded in Germany by Hartmut Esslinger in 1969, and has become a leading international force, best known for product design with a client list that has included Apple, AEG, Erco, Rosenthal, Sony, Villeroy & Boch, Texas Instruments, and the airline Lufthansa. After graduating in electronic engineering at Stuttgart University and industrial design at the College of Design at Schwäbisch Gmund, Esslinger's early design work included products for the audio‐visual equipment manufacturer Wega (taken over by Sony in the 1970s) and Hansgrohe, a leading German bathroom equipment specialist. In the 1980s Esslinger worked on the identity of the Apple IIc computer, leading to the launch of the Apple Macintosh computer in 1984. Esslinger's sleek, light casing endowed it with a stylish yet accessible identity that set it apart from the relative mundaneity of its IBM PC competitors and proved to be an important ingredient of the great attraction of Apple Macintosh for the everyday user. This stress on ‘user‐friendly’ products was taken further in the company slogan ‘form follows emotion’, where the use of colour combined with an organic sensuousness has been tempered by a consumer‐oriented understanding of functionalism. In 1982 Esslinger renamed his company as Frogdesign—the first four letters of which derived from the initials of the Federal Republic of Germany, establishing an office in California in the same year, followed four years later by another in Tokyo. By the 1990s the company's worldwide presence had extended to include further offices in the United States as well as Singapore and Taiwan. It had also extended its operations to include new media and corporate identity departments that, in the early 21st century, accounted for the major part of Frogdesign's business. The company's designs have won numerous awards internationally including the Rat für Formgebung (German Design Council) Award for Product Design in 1969 and the Japanese MITI G‐Mark prize in 1990.
Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.