Winning Product Design – Sonata Ultrasonic Water Meter

November 12, 2017


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german design award winner 2018

The Arad Group is proud to announce that Sonata, our Ultrasonic Residential Water Meter, has won the esteemed German Design Award for Excellent Product Design for 2018. This is after winning the prestigious 2016 International Forum Design, GmbH award for Best Product Design. In this blog we explore what makes the design of a utilitarian product (like a water meter) good or bad.

Let’s Start With Bad Product Design

Most bad design stems from forgetting that what your customers are looking for is functionality¾a product that is easy to use and does what it is supposed to do. Unless you are designing a product for the circus, bells and whistles will only detract from a product’s design. The more unnecessary features the product has, the higher the costs and the chance that the device will malfunction.

It is surprising and often humorous to see how much money has been invested in products that are so poorly designed that they never had a hope of succeeding. For a humorous look at some of these poorly designed products check out

So, What Makes For Good Product Design?

Dieter Rams is a German product and industrial designer who wrote the Ten Commandments for good product design. His 10 principles include Innovation, Usefulness, Aesthetics, Simplicity, Long-Lasting, Honesty, Environment-Friendly, and Thorough—but not Over-Designed. [1]

All of these commandments revolve around one over-arching principle¾the need of the user. Throughout history, every successful innovation solved a problem for the end-user. In his dialog The Republic, Plato stated 2,500 years ago that “necessity is the mother of invention” and this still holds true today.

Though a product designer is in many ways like an artist, her biggest mistake would be to forget that, unlike an artist, she is not creating for herself, but rather for those who will be using the product.

Another factor that a product designer has to take into consideration in order to meet the manufacturer’s need to be profitable is that the product should be designed for mass production in a way that guarantees consistency and reliability of the product’s functionality. {2}

In summary, good design meets the customers’ three main needs: useful, economical, and dependable. But don’t forget to keep it honest. The Sonata, for example, is guaranteed to withstand a temperature of 500 C. If it were to malfunction at 450 C we wouldn’t be winning any awards.

Final Note

Taga is the leading product design and engineering firm that worked closely with the Arad product management team to achieve Sonata’s award winning design. When asked about Sonata’s design Amit Barak, Taga’s CEO, noted that their design goal was to capture and convey the fact that Sonata is a paradigm shift in residential water meter technology. Thus, for example, instead of the traditional round shape of residential water meters, which is a function of their analog components, the Sonata has a square form factor. “The Sonata brings a novel high-tech, IoT modality to residential water metering. We wanted it to look like the cutting-edge electronic device that it is, as opposed to a mechanical product. Yet it also had to be rugged and reliable so we were careful to choose materials and incorporate design principles that give the product an unmistakable strength and solidity.”

Again, we would like to thank the 45 judges that evaluated our product, appreciated the unique design, and presented us with the 2018 German Design Award.




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