Our design heritage

As far back as the 1920s, when Philips was just adopting mass production, we understood that to reach consumers everywhere, we first had to properly understand them. Under the leadership of Louis Kalff, Philips advertising, product design and even architecture were inspired by differences in local preferences and customs worldwide.

By the 1960s, Philips was a strong global brand, but there was still a lack of consistency in our product design. As a result, Rein Veersema created the Industrial Design Bureau, and design was elevated to the forefront of the Philips brand.

Louis Kalff

In 1969, Knut Yran stipulated that extensive research and in-depth study should take place before the design phase started. He created a visual standards manual to aid more efficient decision-making and to build the company’s image.


The next design head, Robert Blaich, brought about a revolution with his vision; he decreed that, above all, design must satisfy customers. He used design as an instrument to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace, and he integrated design and ergonomics into everything from development and production to marketing.

Stefano Marzano

From 1991, under the leadership of Stefano Marzano, High Design was developed. Being a human-focused, multi-disciplinary and research-based approach to design it enabled  the seamless integration of design into the business creation process. Including disciplines like anthropology, psychology and sociology,  it took the idea of people-focused design to the next level. 

Sean Carney

This unique philosophy continues under Sean Carney, the new head of Design since November 2011. As the importance and size of global markets grow, our way of approaching design and being focused on the individual becomes ever more relevant. By understanding people’s lives and anticipating trends, we respond to the complexities of today’s evolving markets with relevant solutions that create value for people and business.