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Braun Prize 2012 - Swyp

Swyp – See What You Print

Artefact Fernd van Engelen, Jonas Buck and Tucker Spofford Global Silver Award: Professionals & Enthusiasts


“Swyp” is a radically simple printer concept. While many companies try to innovate printing by “adding more features”, the designers felt that the solution could come from “better core features.” This “radically simple” concept uses a large touch-screen to simplify printing by allowing the user to see and manipulate, in 1:1 scale, what the finished result will look like – before printing. The underlying idea is that users’ frustration and many common problems (such as wasted time, paper and ink), could be fixed by making all aspects of the printing interaction more natural, predictable and understandable.

Today most people print from multiple sources. “Swyp” also simplifies connectivity by enabling a quick way to get printouts from the most relevant sources such as mobile devices, cameras and libraries, e.g. Flickr and Facebook. Consumer printers represent a very mature and stagnant market. The advance of digital technologies clearly point toward a decline in the long run. Yet, people rarely lament the loss of a printer, nor do they profess the same kind of emotional attachment that they might have for other digital victims such as books, CDs, Vinyl, etc. The main reason is that, even today, consumer printing is still a complicated and annoying experience.

While many companies appear focused on adding more and more features and improving specs, the basic interaction has remained mostly untouched over the last 25 years and it is still broken. People seldom complain that their printers lack the features they desire – rather they struggle with the very basic printing tasks and don’t get the results they expect. The designers chose to focus on a solution that can breathe new life into this humble “peripheral” by radically simplifying it.


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Finding of the jury

urors were unanimously positive about “Swyp”. They found it to be a good as well as obvious solution that brings an interactive service to the printer. It simplifies the way to access the printer, to modify and adjust the pictures, and all contained in one device. They mentioned how normal document printing can be troublesome, even annoying, but found this solution to be very intuitive. It makes it possible to observe the transition from the virtual version to the printed copy, using the same interface to control the image as well as the printer. This simply makes printing easier.

The jurors commented that everyone has had to deal with a printer that either won’t connect or prints something in the wrong format. With this solution, the user sees the finished product in the actual size before it is printed, serving as a perfect bridge between hard and software. The jury pointed out that since people are increasingly working with small screens, e.g. smart-phones and other small devices, this enables them to check on a big screen before printing.

Fernd van Engelen

Fernd van Engelen

1986 – 1987 Freelance Designer
1986 – 1991 Staff Designer, NovAtel, Calgary, Canada
1991 – 1992 Senior Designer, Technology Design, Seattle, USA
1992 – 2002 Design Director, Teague, Seattle, USA
2002 – 2010 Managing Director, Carbon Design Group, Seattle, USA
Since 2010 Director of Design, Artefact, Seattle, USA


Jonas Buck

Jonas Buck

2004 – 2009 Studies, University of Wuppertal, Germany
2008 Intern, Carbon Design Group, Seattle, USA
2009 – 2010 Designer, Carbon Design Group, Seattle, USA
Since 2010 Designer, Artefact, Seattle, USA

Trucker Spofford

Trucker Spofford

2006 – 2010 Studies, Western Washington University, Bellingham, USA
2008 Intern, ToyMonster, Shanghai, China
2010 UX Design Intern, Artefact, Seattle, USA
Since 2010 Designer, Artefact, Seattle, USA