The ATOS designer
An interview with Professor Thomas Hofmann on ATOS 5
Prof. Thomas Hofmann is an independent industrial designer and co-founder of the Institute for Ergonomics and Design Research at the University of Essen. He teaches ergonomics and usability at the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences. As a designer, Hofmann has been shaping GOM's products for over 20 years.
Mr. Hofmann, what defines 'good industrial design'?
A pleasing aesthetic is important, for example, by using symmetries, surfaces and colors. For me, however, usability is the most important thing. With technical and ergonomic understanding, you can determine relatively early on how a product must be designed so that it looks appealing and is user-friendly.
ATOS 5 is the latest GOM product you have contributed to. Which aspects were important to you?
ATOS 5 was intended to be a measuring system that would be taken seriously in its industrial environment. This is reflected in many details, from the color to the design of the ventilation slots, which work together to give ATOS 5 its distinctive character. Considering the usability of the sensor I focused on the ease of use, for example on how to place the handle and offer easy access in case of maintenance.
GOM is a company that focuses heavily on technology and engineering. To what extent can you contribute design ideas?
Everyone has a sense of aesthetics and design – most people just do not deal with these things in everyday life. I also understand, of course, that a product has to meet certain technical design requirements. As a designer, I have to bring both of these aspects together – product and interface design. The most important thing is mutual trust between all parties, and I maintain a very open and extensive exchange with GOM. We work closely together to make sure that the product is extraordinary in every respect.
ATOS 5 was awarded the Red Dot Design Award in 2019. What does this award mean to you?
It is a great pleasure. The Red Dot Award is one of the world's most prestigious awards for good product design. But I believe that the award is even more important for GOM. Technical perfection is GOM’s absolute focus, which is why the company hesitated for a long time to communicate its design quality to the outside world. Today, however, design is an essential market factor, even for potential customers. And now the quality of GOM’s design is officially recognized, so to speak.