There have been a few outlier attempts to makeover the computer peripheral, but in general the average external hard is characterized by function rather than memorable form. Hard drive giant Seagate’s latest storage peripheral, Innov8, is one of the more fetching examples of peripheral design – monstrous in capacity while minimally equipped with a single USB-C port for power and data. In sum the drive is equal parts a technological and design statement.
The Seagate Innov8 is the world’s first USB-powered desktop drive with a capacious 8TB of storage. That’s enough hard drive storage for “more than two million songs, four million photos and eight hundred HD movies”. But as large as its capacity, what’s more notable about the Innov8 is the drive forgoes the requirement for a dedicated power adapter or source to lug around, thanks to its USB-C connection, carrying the load for both power and data transfers.
In person, the drive seems to embrace its purpose with an industrial elegance further magnified by the surprising weight of what equals 8TB of data capacity, each of the drive’s six layers representing the six platters used in the Archive HDD.
The keen-eyed industrial design set may note the similarities of the Innov8’s radiator bladed futurism to LaCie’s past executions, perhaps a design DNA byproduct of Seagate’s purchase of the boutique brand back in 2012. Seagate partnered with Huge-Design – a San Francisco design studio with Nike, Google, HP and Intel in their portfolio – collaborating on the aluminum enclosure. The sleek industrial drive has already won a 2016 Red Dot design award.
Design Milk interviewed Bill Webb, Product Designer & Co-Founder at Huge-Design and Jeff Fochtmann, the Senior Director of Seagate Global Marketing about the design process behind the Innov8:
It would seem all hard drives begin as a rectilinear enclosure. What was the trajectory of starting with this foundation and chiseling away to what eventually became the Innov8?
Bill Webb: Early form explorations focused on the idea of “layers of storage”. The metaphor of a powerful memory stack (ex. server rack). These individual layers activated and separated by the negative space to address cooling needs and performance. An overt design reference to the engineering qualities of high-powered memory storage.
As you’ve noted, hard drives are generally shaped by technological requirements – primarily cooling concerns. How did HUGE Design span further across in incorporating an additional layer of form with this function?
Webb: The INNOV8 design philosophy follows the lead of the SEVEN [a super thin 500GB drive], a progressive design statement that celebrated Seagate’s no-nonsense engineering roots. We overtly expressed the internal hard drive technology in the details/overall feel of the exterior cast housing, but handled with a level of sophistication and finesse.
Jeff Fochtmann: It’s remarkable to see our design teams build on the industrial design of the Seagate Seven that was announced last year. I think the Innov8 hit the mark of balance of being a simple and premium design.
There’s a typographic element incorporated into the design, almost a bold militaristic attitude.
Webb: We at Huge Design are always trying to deliver bold design solutions that feel appropriate and have a story. In this case, the engineering-inspired flavor of INNOV8 feels right and credible as a Seagate extreme product. All too often, product design can be arbitrary and the ‘coolness’ of a particular aesthetic says nothing meaningful about the company that makes it.
“The solid, one piece cast aluminum main housing is the single most important aspect of the design. This product feels solid, heavy and uber-premium in person. A trustworthy feel that gives user’s confidence that their 8TB of data is safe and secure.”
The Seagate Innov8 will be available this month for $349 through Seagate.com, Amazon and other premium resellers.