Matsushita's Award-Winning New Look

The Japanese appliance-makerhome to Panasonichas revamped a dull image and revived profits. Design chief Toyoyuki Uematsu explains how it happened

For years, Matsushita Electric Industrial was known by the unflattering moniker "Maneshita." Loosely translated as "copycat" from the Japanese, it was a biting but apt description of the tech company's stable of me-too products. The Osaka-based company's brands—National home appliances and Panasonic consumer electronics—had a reputation for top-notch quality and technology but dull styling or, even worse, blatant imitation.

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