5 Years of designing for Tannoy

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We have all heard a ‘message over the Tannoy’. The word ‘Tannoy’ is the most popular way to describe a public address system at an open-air event or a train station. But of course Tannoy is the famous Scottish-based loudspeaker Brand from where the well-known phrase ‘over the Tannoy’ is derived. Next year Tannoy will be celebrating 90 years of manufacturing some of the highest quality professional and residential speakers in the world.

4c Design have been working with Tannoy for the last 5 years (view case study). We help them visualise their up and coming products and future ranges of speakers. Over the last 5 years we have worked on over 20 designs, so it feels timely to look back and reflect on our experiences of working with one of the most innovative and pioneering brands in audio.

kingdomWe were first introduced to Tannoy when they needed industrial design assistance for an important relaunch of their Kingdom Royal speaker back in 2009. This particular speaker had been the flagship unit of their range for over 15 years, so it was a very important brief and one which required us to fully immerse ourselves into the company’s history and ethos. At the same time, we needed to listen to Tannoy’s Far Eastern fan base, who had strong opinions on the design and philosophy of the product.

The Kingdom Royal was a particularly exciting concept, because it was aimed at the high end of the market, where more time and money is spent on the design and manufacturing processes to ensure the results are right. We’ve been particularly impressed by the care that Tannoy put into their manufacturing: it’s their attention to even the tiniest detail that catches our eye and makes their speakers stand out above the crowd. A review of the final product can be seen here.


Shortly after our introduction to Tannoy and our work on the Kingdom Royal, we were asked to look at redesigns for many of Tannoy’s other products in the professional and residential ranges. We’ve loved working for Tannoy over the years as they are developing products that are both supremely functional – producing some of the highest quality audio available – and truly aesthetic. It is no coincidence that many of our team now own Tannoy speakers!

Tannoy Reveal - Studio Monitors

Working with Tannoy over the last 5 years to bring more and more of their products to market has been a fantastic experience. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that Tannoy believe in collaborative input from all departments of their company. Meetings at their headquarters usually consist of briefings or concept reviews with representatives from several departments including engineering, sales, management and marketing, so that new concepts can be assessed from the different perspectives of all those involved in their development and sale. A truly refreshing and particularly efficient process. By working on concepts collaboratively we feel that Tannoy have created both a great working environment and a development process that results in much better, well considered products.

4c Design’s contribution to Tannoy over the years has been much appreciated by the company and is described in this short video by their director of operations and passionate audiophile Jim Stewart:

Tannoy has made a huge impact on the music industry over the last 9 decades: from the PA systems it built for Butlins’ holiday camps to the thousands of high end speakers that the company now exports from Scotland to the Far East. It is with a great deal of pride that 4c Design can say that we are part of the Tannoy team.

In the build up to Tannoy’s 90th birthday 4c Design has been asked to develop a range of products to celebrate this momentous achievement. We hope to be able to reveal more about this soon… so ‘watch this space’, or should we say instead, ‘listen out for another announcement!’

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