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Advertising & Marketing | Designing California: A Look
at Innovations from the Golden State

Going With the Flow

April 23, 1998|GREG JOHNSON

Santa Ana-based Aqualung/U.S. Divers Co. handed Bill Ungar a design challenge: Make a snorkel look like it's streaking through the water--even when it's sitting on a dive shop shelf.

The original, 20-year-old Impulse was one of the top-selling snorkel lines among experienced divers. The new Impulse 2 features a slimmer tube that moves more easily through the water, but the redesign was undertaken primarily to make the snorkel more appealing to younger divers.

"We had a hard-edged look from the '70s and '80s and we needed a more organic form," Ungar said.

Quality snorkels all work perfectly well, but the challenge, dive-shop owners say, is finding a design that stands out in stores awash with look-alike product.

An early design produced something that looked like an "animal hoof," Ungar said. The marketing department rejected another as too extreme. A third was abandoned because it left no room for a corporate logo.

The Impulse 2 captured a silver prize in the 1997 Industrial Designers Society of America contest for styling that "really turns heads."

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