Behind the Design of the Tile Sticker and Slim Trackers
For years Tile has been people’s go-to device for keeping track of their valuable and personal items. Its newest product line features the Tile Sticker and Slim, two game-changing devices with three-year battery lives designed to ensure you never lose your priceless possessions again.
First, let’s talk about a sticky subject. The Sticker is Tile’s smallest device that easily adheres to laptops, phones, bicycles and more. Its tiny disc shape makes it more versatile than the other trackers and its adhesive bonds to most metal and plastic surfaces for three-to-five years. It has a 150-foot range and is fully waterproof, so you can slap it on your bike or skateboard before you hit the road.
Next up is the Slim. The name here also speaks for itself. The redesigned Slim’s 2.4 mm wafer-thin design is similar to a credit card and easily slots into wallets, purses, passport holders and luggage tags. Slim offers a 200-foot range—double that of the original—and works in temperatures from 14 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so it won’t freeze or melt easily. It can also withstand immersion of up to one meter of water.
Now let’s dive into the design process of these revolutionary trackers.
Tile Sticker & Slim
5 Questions with the Tile Sticker and Slim Designers
Whipsaw: How did you arrive at the look and feel of both the Sticker & Slim?
Derby: The Slim design was an evolution of the existing credit card form factor device. Branding and color material finish needed to be elevated while maintaining consistency with Tile’s new and exciting product line. With everything on the inside being smaller and more tightly packed, we leveraged the iconic Tile logo by making the entire device circular. This allowed us to arrive at the perfect design and form factor quite quickly.
Martin: The Sticker and Slim were developed alongside the Mate and Pro’s refresh, which afforded us the opportunity to cohesively evolve the design language across the new line of products. Since Sticker and Slim were completely new, we were tasked with creating a language that translated well between both existing and new forms. We landed on language that makes the Tile logo take center stage on these devices, yet remains muted, clean and simple when attached to other objects.
Whipsaw: What were your specific goals and challenges while designing within the consumer electronic space?
Derby: The challenge with any new Tile product is to create an innovative and desirable device that still retains all the iconic qualities of the existing product line. It needs to feel fresh and still fit into the Tile spectrum.
Martin: Our goal with Sticker was to create a playful form that matched the delightful activity of augmenting knickknacks with tiny trackers. We stuck the landing with Sticker. Its soft and button-like form speaks to the action of pressing it onto the valuable objects you want to track. Tile Slim also presented an interesting challenge when it came to balancing the design and branding paradigm that was already established by Tile, and then applying that to a design that was somewhat similar to their previous offerings. Branding placement is key to these devices, but it isn’t a matter of simply applying what Tile has done in the past to a credit card form factor.
Whipsaw: Can you describe your collaboration with Tile on these devices?
Derby: We have a great working relationship with Tile. Having gone through the design process with their team many times before, the expectations were already set, the requirements were known, and the customer expectations were already identified. It was therefore super easy for us to hit the ground running. Every Tile project begins with heavy sketching and 3D computer aided design concept generation. A funneling process then occurs to hone in on the appropriate design concept that fits their criteria.
Martin: Not only have we worked with Tile before, but they also understand the design process—and how we work—which makes collaborating with them so much more of a team effort. When a client speaks our language, we experience more flourishing discussions, more fluidity in the process, and a better understanding of decisions for both parties. Having them nearby so we could conduct meetings in person was the icing on the collaboration cake.
Whipsaw: Did anything exciting occur during the design process that you can share with our readers?
Martin: What I found exciting about this new family of Tile products was how well the design language was carried throughout each respective product. The Sticker and Slim truly brought every product involved into the same playing field, which was great to see. When you go on Tile’s website, you now instantly get a sense of their cohesive design language. You can see the consistency of the designs in one of our early sketches here. Everything just seemed to gel in a really organic way in this design process.
Whipsaw: On a final note, which device do you personally prefer…Sticker or Slim?
Martin: I prefer the Sticker. It’s just super innovative. Sticker opened up a new way of using Tile devices. They’re no longer tethered to a keyring, and the Sticker enables these convenient tracking devices to be attached to objects that weren’t able to be easily tracked before.
Derby: I would say I also prefer the new Sticker. It’s more logical and smaller than ever. The biggest challenge with most tracking devices is having a design that’s discreet enough to fit on small objects. We’re finally there with Sticker.