Getting a grip

A longtime partnership that changed kitchens everywhere.

OXO

  • Client
    OXO
  • Industry
    Consumer Goods
  • Services
    Customer Research, Industrial Design, Human Factors, Design for Manufacturing, Systems Engineering, Prototyping
  • Client
    OXO

    Industry
    Consumer Goods
  • Services
    Customer Research, Industrial Design, Human Factors, Design for Manufacturing, Systems Engineering, Prototyping

In 1989, businessman Sam Farber had an “aha” moment.

After watching his wife Betsey struggle with a common vegetable peeler, Sam set out to make ordinary kitchen tools easier for everyone to use—adding delight in the process.

Almost 30 years later, we’re proud to have been there from the beginning to help Sam’s vision grow from a one-man startup to a household name. A strategic partner with OXO International since 1990, Smart developed the influential OXO Good Grips line, which introduced the concept of Universal Design to mass retail and created consumer demand for better performing, easier to use kitchen tools. With Smart’s help, the OXO brand has continued to expand and evolve while remaining true to one simple but powerful idea: create products that make everyday life easier.

Greatest Designs of Modern Times

The Oxo Good Grips peeler was ranked 6 out of 100 by Fortune and ITT among the most important designs in history.

Products that work for everyone, every day

Since the initial launch of 20 kitchen tools, we’ve designed hundreds of products for OXO, helping guide and support them to new categories including cleaning, bath, laundry storage and organization, gardening and the OXO Tot children’s brand. Most recently, we launched an inaugural line of electric appliances, OXO On. Today, our partnership continues as we work to widen OXO’s lead as one of the world’s most admired and wonderfully comfortable housewares brand.

The degree of clarity to the OXO brand is quite rare. Most companies struggle to expand without losing what made them great in the first place. Not OXO. This notion of ‘making everyday life easier’ has become the driving force behind everything OXO does, and it’s allowed them to expand into adjacent categories very successfully.”

Davin Stowell

Smart Design Founder

Universal Design for everyone

OXO’s success has been an unwavering dedication to the principles of Universal Design—the belief that products should be accessible by the broadest spectrum of users. Together with OXO, we’ve visited hundreds of homes and spoken to thousands of people over the years to study how they use products.

Simplicity, no matter which way you read it

Beyond designing their very first products, including the iconic vegetable peeler, Smart also created the OXO brand identity. A simple black and white packaging system works just like the products it represents: it’s straightforward, easy to understand and does a stand-out job at shelf.

From tools to tots

As their long-term design partner, we helped OXO expand into the children’s category with the Tot line, created with the needs of both babies and parents in mind. Since its 2010 launch, Tot has won numerous design awards and continues to be one of the company’s high-growth segments.

Making electric more meaningful

Our collaboration with OXO on a new line of kitchen appliances was driven by the belief that technology should simplify, not complicate, our lives. The OXO Brew range of products focuses on creating a unified design language and streamlining touchpoints to simplify interactions. By focusing on user needs and reducing the amount of bells and whistles, we developed thoughtful design details that helped OXO successfully enter the coffee and tea categories.

Let’s design a smarter world together