iF Product Design Award Product Family
What we did
Turning existing convention on its head, the UE Roll is small enough to fit in your hand yet loud enough to power a party anywhere.
Following successful collaborations on the UE Boom and the UE Megaboom, Ultimate Ears again turned to NONOBJECT, this time to design the most adventurous portable Bluetooth speaker ever, the UE Roll. Continuing the DNA of the UE Boom and Megaboom, the front of the UE Roll speaker is instantly recognizable with its iconic oversized ‘plus’ and ‘minus’ buttons. But the small size of the speaker and the portability vision for the UE Roll presented steep design challenges. And when adding excellent sound quality and acoustic performance requirements, the design challenges at first seemed almost insurmountable.
Designing an acoustic breakthrough
The portability requirements were directly at odds with the acoustic requirements. But ultimately, the slim, hemispherical shape that NONOBJECT conceived was an acoustic breakthrough that delivered on the idea of the powerful 360 sound that all the speakers in the Ultimate Ears portfolio deliver.
Amazing 360 sound
The shape allows all the necessary acoustic components to be positioned optimally inside in an incredibly compact envelope. When placed face up on any surface, the user can enjoy amazing 360 sound, without the speaker vibrating or traveling on the surface.
an acoustic breakthrough that delivered on the idea of the powerful 360 sound in new way
The most advanced materials
Shunning the throwaway nature of consumer electronics, the UE Roll—as with all speakers from Ultimate Ears—only gets better with age. Small and portable, the UE Roll will be held in your hands, put in pockets, shoved in bags, attached to outdoor objects, and exposed to dirt and grime on a daily basis. Therefore, the materials were carefully selected to not only make the surfaces beautiful and approachable, but also to make the speaker much more durable. The acoustic skin on the front of the speaker is a custom weave produced by one of the most advanced fabric manufacturers in the world. It is the most durable, acoustically transparent material we could find and lives up to the promise of a life-proof product. The TPSiV elastomer on the backside is also custom developed. This elastomer is soft to the touch but wears like iron. It shows and maintains vibrant colors beautifully and is completely washable.
Just as with UE Boom and UE Megaboom, over time, the speaker will develop a beautiful patina, unique to each user. And if patina is not your thing, the UE Roll can easily be kept immaculate with a quick dunk in water.
the acoustic skin is a custom-weave from one of the most advanced fabric manufacturers in the world
This bluetooth speaker is so honest about what it should do and what it should look like. Form and function reinforce each other in perfect unison. Material use is extraordinarily smart, as is its detailing. Not only does it very cleverly coordinate with the users behavior, it positively exudes kindness, youth, freshness, fun and good vibrations. This product sends out a message, it communicates an outstanding design.
Not only is the physical appearance of the UE Roll designed for a long life. The acoustic and digital capabilities of the product can also be updated seamlessly through the UE Roll app, further extending the life of the product.
The butcher shop inspiration
The idea of sustainability extends to the packaging of the UE Roll. Going against the prevailing trend in packaging for consumer electronics, the UE Roll packaging is minimal, consisting primarily of a recyclable piece of paper folded beautifully to protect and showcase the product.
The idea for the packaging of the UE Roll was driven by the thought of the perfectly imperfect packaging. At first glance, the packaging appears perfect on the shelf, a true brand vehicle, carrying all brand attributes of its family and clearly conveying critical product attributes. But at a closer look, it does so much more. While other members of the UE family are packaged in cylindrical boxes, the UE Roll is not one to be confined in a box. In fact, its packaging has more in common with a slab of meat in a butcher shop than a typical consumer electronics product.
has more in common with a slab of meat in a butcher shop than a typical consumer electronics product
the inside of the paper is printed with a commissioned piece of art – a different one for each product color
The oval packaging is simply the product wrapped in a single sheet of paper, There are no trays or small boxes for accessories, no plastic sleeves for protection – just the simple sheet of paper wrapped such that it beautifully reveals the product, leaving you with no waste and no hassle – just you and your music ready to go. And the inside of the paper is printed with a commissioned piece of art – a different one for each product color – with images that are as non-conformist as the product itself.
The result of the perfectly imperfect packaging is a truly unique way of packaging a product in the consumer electronics category. Challenging established industry norms and pushing the boundaries the packaging conveys the essence of the the UE Roll while being extremely cost-efficient and sustainable.