Photo: Founder Konosuke Matsushita raised his hand with hat

The root of Panasonic Design goes all the way back to the 1950s. When Konosuke Matsushita, Panasonic‘s founder, first saw the US market, he saw for himself how design was the key to business there. This, he realized, was the "dawn of a new age of design." In 1951 he invited Yoshikazu Mano, then a lecturer at the Faculty of Industrial Design of Chiba University, to establish the Product Design Section of Matsushita Electric's Advertising Department, starting with just three people. That was the birth of the in-house design department, which was rare in Japan at that time.

The 20B1 electric fan was Matsushita’s first product design by Mano. From that point on, all products were taken to the Productl Design Section for their styling. But at that time, it is said the lack of understanding about the design process led to many unreasonable demands to “come up with a design on the spot.” Two years later, in 1953, the Product Design Section shifted from the Advertising Department to the Central Research Lab, a part of the technology division. This was due to the need of involving designers right from the development stage to ensure that design went beyond surface styling to incorporate the steady flow of new technologies and internal mechanism designs.

The design department continued to work to increase understanding of the fact that design was more than just the outward appearance of a product but extends to where and how the product is used.

Panasonic Design continues on today the same approaches and concepts from its beginning.

  • Photo: A drawing designer
  • Photo: Work scene of the 1960s
  • Photo: Old TV and fan