Personally, I’m not a smoker but I can’t help noticing how many people have become smokers after the popularity of the e-cigarette. This is an interesting trend to follow from a technological and design standpoint. It seems smokers, new and old, want more autonomy over what they smoke and the way they smoke. The market had a gap and companies began filling it with numerous products. However, the JUUL seems to be the front-runner when it comes to innovation and design.
The JUUL is incredibly small and sleek, which contrasts with most of the e-cigarettes on the market. Many of the e-cigarettes that have become widely available use a “tank” design where the body tends to be larger and abruptly leads up to a much smaller spherical shape at the end. While it seems that competitors are spending time trying to some-what replicate the shape of a traditional cigarette (hence gravitating towards that spherical shape), the JUUL went in the opposite direction. The JUUL is a flat rectangular product making it stand out amongst competitors but feels familiar to the current user demographic. This product looks and feels exactly like a long USB stick, it even charges through a wireless USB port using a magnetic connection which lends itself to a more modern and thought-out designed product. The body of JUUL also has a small notch in it so that the user can tell when vapor/nicotine juice is running out; embedding ease of use into the product design. Plastic disposable JUUL “pods” are easily inserted and immediately ready to smoke; prioritizing the user’s time and showcasing the product’s functional efficiency. With a double-tap on the outer metallic body, an LED indicator lights up green, yellow, or red indicating the charge level of the device. Even the packaging is very calculated and deliberate; symmetrical, contemporary, and repeats the brand’s color palette and typeface throughout. This device truly is the iconic Apple of e-cigarette design.
Most people are easily sold at face value and only become critical during a product’s malfunction. Aesthetics can sell us a product but a great user experience ensures our loyalty. A product that’s visually innovative but muddles a user’s experience is of poor functional design. Great product design is where functional design, aesthetic design, and problem-solving intersect. This is exactly where the JUUL lands. The JUUL works each time, building loyalty through its seemingly flawless execution. The JUUL has satisfied a market problem with a fresh and innovative user-first mentality. The JUUL has taken modern design, usability, and functionality to create something novel for an antiquated habit. Somehow JUUL has found a way to bring the cool sophistication of smoking back, just like it was in the 50’s before we knew it was slowly killing us. That’s no easy task and the JUUL’s design team is to thank for that.