Head to head with Jimin Kim, Samsung Electronics senior visual designer
A positive and pleasurable user experience (UX) is central to the design of Samsung’s The Frame television. With Jimin Kim, senior visual designer at Samsung Electronics, in charge of the matter, a holistic philosophy was key. Working with her team at the Samsung Customer Experience Lab, she created The Frame’s UX to make its operation desirable and pleasing. ‘Every single graphic element I designed for The Frame was based on the core of the product,’ she explains. ‘We were designing the TV as an object that fully integrates into people’s personal space, so we wanted to do more with fewer elements. To provide a content-centric, personalised, fluid experience to the user.’
Employing state-of-the-art technology, Samsung’s The Frame is a thing of slender, high-definition, picture-perfect beauty. With its 4K Ultra HD certified technology, the screen delivers a viewing experience that is sharper and four times more detailed than conventional Full HD. Moving and static images come alive on your wall, with both bright and dark scenes presented with incredible clarity. The Frame sits flush against the wall, just like a professionally hung artwork. A simple but handsomely executed picture-frame moulding (in your choice of finish, such as walnut, beige wood, or white) raises the screen’s glass to art-gallery standard.
When The Frame is not in conventional operation – streaming films or catching up on broadcast news channels – it can be switched to Art Mode. So instead of fading to a dull black like a regular TV, The Frame’s display transforms into a work of contemporary art, with users granted access to more than 100 custom-designed digital images in the Samsung Collection. Samsung is also partnering with galleries and museums all over the world to help users curate their own gallery of pictures with over 600 pieces of art available in the Art Store.
The Samsung Customer Experience Lab team visited art galleries for inspiration. ‘Because our content is the art, we really tried to emphasise it in the digital space,’ says Kim. ‘We referred a lot to what museums and galleries do – how design environments make the art the star of the space.’
They observed the angle and positioning of lighting, how curators use coloured backgrounds to highlight and enhance artworks in different spaces and adapted what they saw to domestic settings. Because The Frame was such a huge collaborative project, the Samung UX designers worked closely with an array of disciplines and talents to consider the psychological aspects of the product – user behaviour, needs and motivations. ‘We actually brought people right into our user lab to learn about their experience and the product,’ says Kim. ‘From that point, we could design The Frame to be a really easy and pleasurable product for everyone to navigate and enjoy.’
Samsung The Frame + Wallpaper*
The way we watch TV has changed, and television design is changing too. No longer the focal point of a room, but more a functional and decorative element of our interior design, a TV must look beautiful, work effortlessly and blend in with its surroundings, complementing a room’s aesthetics, materials and ambience.
Yun-Je Kang, Head of Design in Visual Display at Samsung Electronics, and his team have been watching the way people watch TV very closely over the past few years; observing living spaces and the lives, schedules, interests and habits of their products’ users. ‘We found out that, on average, a TV is only used for around five hours a day,’ says Kang. ‘For the other 19 hours it remains a black screen. We wanted to find a way for the TV to be used for 24 hours a day, so that the experience can be enjoyed all the time.’
‘A TV must look beautiful, complementing a room’s aesthetics, materials and ambience’
The concept of The Frame TV was born. Employing state-of-the-art technology, Samsung’s 4K UHD is a thing of slender, high definition, picture-perfect beauty. With The Frame’s 4K Ultra HD certified technology, the screen delivers a viewing experience that is sharper and four times more detailed than conventional Full HD. Moving and static images come alive on your wall with both bright and dark scenes presented with incredible clarity. Created in collaboration with Yves Béhar, The Frame sits flush against the wall, just like professionally hung artwork, or on its elegant easel-style ‘Studio’ tripod stand. Thanks to Samsung’s ingenious Invisible Connection system, there are no ugly wires or cables visible.
A simple but handsomely executed picture-frame moulding (in your choice of finish, such as walnut, beige wood or white) raises the screen’s glass to art-gallery standard and when The Frame is not in conventional operation – streaming films or catching up on broadcast news channels – it can be switched to ‘Art Mode’. So, instead of fading to a dull black box, The Frame’s display transforms into a work of contemporary art, with users granted access to more than 100 custom-designed digital images. Samsung is also partnering with galleries, museums and artists to help users curate their own gallery of pictures.
Mindful of avoiding needless energy consumption, The Frame’s motion and light sensors turn off the screen when there’s no activity in the room. The screen adjusts the brightness and colour settings of the display based on ambient light levels, which means that the art work displayed looks like real art and personal photos match their original colour and brightness settings.
In the first of our short, Wallpaper* + Samsung film series, documenting The Frame’s design journey and interviewing some of the artists and curators collaborating on its artwork library, Kang talks about ‘a new screen experience’.
‘We approached it from the user’s perspective and provided a solution to the black screen.’
‘The Frame caters to a new type of lifestyle,’ he says. ‘For Samsung, it is not just about the technology. We focus on understanding future trends and lifestyles, designing in a new way. The whole design process is supported by Samsung separately from the technology. We approached it from the user’s perspective and provided a solution to the black screen. Our goal is to get involved in people’s lives in a meaningful way. We wanted to make a product that was cooler than anything else out there.’ The Frame is television reborn, cool and minimal, exhibited as contemporary art in your personal gallery space.