Portfolio development for steady and consistent growth.


It goes without saying that the most important aspect of a loudspeaker is the sound it produces. Tannoy has been making loudspeakers of impeccable sound quality since the 1930s, and certainly know a thing or two about sound engineering.

Whilst the company has ample engineering skill, its industrial design capability was minimal. For that reason, in 2008 Tannoy reached out to 4c to help update and guide their portfolio of products.

The Relationship

Operating as their outsourced design house, over seven years we built up and drew upon our strong understanding of Tannoy’s historic brand. Special attention was of course paid to the iconic dual concentric drivers, a key IP other manufacturers can only dream of replicating.

With Tannoys’ acoustic property requirements, as well as our own creativity, we developed fresh concepts and routes forward. Activities included providing rich production and promotional materials of speculative concept ideas for stakeholder pitches. We were also involved in refining the aesthetics of existing ranges as well as getting involved in the design of completely new products. Once new products were ‘greenlit’, we poured focus over form factor, material choice, surface finishes, manufacturing techniques and co-creating new methods of sound distribution.

Producing such a wide portfolio of products that catered to different markets and different levels of audiophiles, Tannoy weren’t just focused on a single direction. Together we developed three distinct design languages:

Clean | To appeal to the design savvy modern audiophile as well as both entry-level and high-end customers.

Classic | To suit grand environments with bountiful  helpings of beautiful woods and material finishes.

Professional | To be installed in a variety of venues and studios, these products are only noticed for the sound they create.

Capabilities Utilised

  • Product research

  • Concept generation

  • Industrial design

  • Prototyping

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Brand development

learn about our other capabilities

Value Generated

After winning multiple What Hi-Fi awards, Tannoy was bought out by the MUSIC group to add high-end products to their range. Over the seven years we worked together, 4c contributed towards designing their highest selling speaker ranges and reinvigorated their studio monitor range. By working so closely with Tannoy’s sound engineers we also challenged them, which led to Dr. Paul, a former sound engineer at Tannoy, naming one product as ‘the best sounding port-tube we have ever made’.

In a mutually beneficial relationship, 4c benefited from having such an iconic 90-year-old brand as a client and Tannoy benefited from the expertise, enthusiasm and ‘fresh eyes’ approach that 4c brought to the design process. By tapping into a design resource when they needed it, they could run their engineering team more efficiently and concentrate on how to produce that all-important signature Tannoy sound.

"With 4c's assistence, we were able to reintroduce ourselves to existing markets with a fresh but recognisable face."

Stuart Wilkinson - New Product Development Manager
want to build a consistent portfolio of products?