FLIR - Product Design Strategy

Return on design investment

FLIR’s innovative, powerful solutions changed the world of industrial thermography. But when competitors with bigger design muscles started to challenge their leading position, they realised it was time to invest in change.

Above not only helped FLIR create a unique product design identity – we made design an integral part of their corporate culture. By adding a user-oriented design strategy to FLIR’s already strong engineering tradition, we had a recipe for success.

FLIR’s early thermal imaging products were expensive and required specialist knowledge, limiting their users to a small group of professionals.

However, technological developments and lower production costs set the stage for new design opportunities, better ergonomics, market-friendly pricing – and tougher competition. While FLIR still led the tech race, they saw their solutions being copied, and their market share being swallowed by bigger competitors with stronger brand recognition and more user-oriented design.

In contrast, FLIR’s projects were overly focused on technology, with user needs added to the design more or less as an afterthought. Instead of strategically reusing successful features, new projects were often started from scratch. A long series of design experiments resulted in a mishmash of visual expressions, and this lack of consistency was also reflected in the user interface.

FLIR asked us to help them create a consistent, user-oriented and attractive product design strategy, based on their brand DNA and core values.

To firmly root the company’s design culture from the very start, we helped FLIR create an internal design forum. This would keep their product development process in line with the design strategy – and vice versa.

We then developed and defined the product design identity. Here, the new FLIR Exx Series was used as a “brand builder” product to which we could apply the new design principles.

The next big step was to define FLIR’s digital identity and develop a corporate digital design guide. This included creating a user interface for the thermal camera, and making it scalable, responsive and easy to use.

Developing both the user interface and the desktop software simultaneously made hardware/software integration much smoother, while also ensuring consistency of information and symbols across the FLIR ecosystem.

We drew up a new, brand-unique identity, a corporate product design guide, and a strategy for how to apply the design identity to the product portfolio. New, dedicated design management positions were introduced to ensure consistent implementation.

Today, FLIR has a strong design culture and an efficient product development process. Its design guides are used globally, within all business segments. Unique design attributes have increased brand recognition significantly, while protecting FLIR’s design rights.

Customer insights are now a natural part of the innovation process. FLIR’s product portfolio offers a low learning threshold and greater ease of use – which in turn makes the products easier to market and sell.

Last but certainly not least, the design strategy has meant major savings for FLIR, thanks to improved efficiency in all parts of the design process. That’s what we call a return on design investment.

The release of the Exx-series has been very successful. As a result of this we have noticed an increased interest from our customers in this product category. We have surpassed our forecasts and FLIR has been working very hard to produce in a pace that match a very high demand. The design esthetics has moved our brand in a very desirable direction. Our customers appreciate the design features since it communicates a highly innovative and qualitative product, as all FLIR products are.
— Johannes Bergh, FLIR Chief Brand Officer

About FLIR
FLIR Systems develops and manufactures technologies that enhance perception and awareness. Their broad range of innovative sensing solutions includes thermal imaging, visible-light imaging, locator systems, measurement and diagnostic systems, and advanced threat detection.



  • Design Strategy
  • Ecosystem Design
  • Product Design