- Logitech’s new Aurora range aims for gender inclusivity for gamers.
- Yes, some of the gadgets are pink and fluffy.
- Inclusivity isn’t just about colors.
Logitech’s new "gender-inclusive" Aurora Collection of gaming accessories is a welcome change from the usual aggressive LEDs and grilles aesthetic, but… pink?
Coming up with designs that appeal to women is a tricky task. After all, shouldn’t good design appeal to anyone, regardless of gender? An individual may not like the iPhone's look or something like Teenage Engineering’s sleek aluminum OP-1 Field, but nobody would say that they’re "for boys" or "for girls." But the gaming accessory market is decidedly "male teenager" in its design character, which can put many people off—including the boys.
"What we know is that women represent nearly 50% of the gaming community, and they deserve product experiences that take them into consideration," Tania Alvarez Moreno, gaming design lead at Logitech G, told Lifewire via email. "For the Aurora Collection, we spent time with them to understand their gaming experiences, what drove them, and what their needs were. It may seem like a bunch of little things, but it adds up to be a great experience."
Pink and Fluffy
Take a walk down the aisles of any toy store, and you’ll know you’re in the girls’ section because everything is pink. Or, since Disney’s Frozen, pink, ice-turquoise, and purple. Maybe a toy will also have "Girl Power" written on it somewhere.
The laziest way to cash in on the "female" adult market is to do the same thing. Just take a product, and render it in a pastel color. The thinking seems to be that women don’t care about the specs and capabilities of a gadget. They just buy it for the color. It’s patronizing, and it was old-fashioned before our modern understanding of gender and gender roles opened up into something far more ambiguous and nuanced than boys vs. girls.
"Options for styles and colors—built-in or customizable—are always fun for consumers, even if design purists will argue that a truly great product should be perfect without such bells and whistles," design journalist and curator Henrietta Thompson told Lifewire via email. "That said, there’s no need in this day and age to label it as being gender-specific. Do a pink one by all means, but let it be for whoever loves pink—hint, it’s not always the girls (and vice versa)."
Design isn’t just about how things look. To paraphrase Steve Jobs, design is how it works. And there are physical and cultural differences between genders that have to be considered.
"Gender-neutral shouldn't mean designing for a particular audience, as the definition of gender is becoming increasingly fluid and tastes vary per individual," Brittney Seals, chief operations officer at esports technology company Esposure, told Lifewire via email. "Good gender-inclusive peripherals will include an array of the color spectrum (even if it's just white and black) at even pricing (no pink tax) and ensure options or suitability for differently sized hands and heads."
Again, we can look at Apple for inspiration. The iPhone, and every smartphone on the planet that copied it, is a slab of glass with a plain frame. It’s utterly neutral, its colors change every year, and you can buy the current models in small, medium, and large.
"For the Aurora Collection, we designed principally for women and identified gear pain points around aesthetics, longer hair, the discomfort of wearing glasses, earrings, and general fit discomfort for smaller sizes. This allowed us to focus our efforts on solving these key issues that are not unique to women and therefore widened the aperture of product solutions that we offer beyond a specific gender group," says Alvarez Moreno.
The pink and fluffy parts of the Aurora collection might not be helping the message, but designing for inclusivity, whether based on gender, size, or accessibility, is good for everyone. Not all computer gear needs to be a monolith to beauty (iPhone) or aimed at dudes and bros (every other gaming peripheral ever). Plus, the Aurora range has non-pink colors, too.
And Logitech’s pink colorways? User preference:
"And yes," says Alvarez Moreno, "this collection includes a customization set that includes Pink Dawn and Green Flash colorways, which were our target’s preferred color options based on extensive testing."