dyson’s fan remote

Aaron Cecchini-Butler
3 min readSep 5, 2018

Dyson is well-known for their fans, vacuums and other tech involving forcing air in or out of things. Part of the reason they’re well-known, in my opinion, is thoughtful, beautiful design. Many of the items are attractive, and slightly futuristic, making it easier for the consumer to justify the price tag.

One way in which their minimalist design shows through well is the remote that comes with their fan. They easily could have gotten away without making one, or without putting any real effort into it, considering you can control their fans with your smartphone. However, they chose to use minimalist iconography effectively to make a sleek, modern remote.

Additionally, a quick search will indicate that they’ve been iterating on their remote design for quite some time!

Look at all the remotes!

Picture of my remote (never used, I always use my smartphone, but can appreciate the design!)

There are a number of icons that make this remote effective. Starting with the universal standby symbol, indicating that the device will still be connected to energy.

At the bottom there is a night-time mode, indicating a quieter setting, and next to it is a mode that will turn off when you go to sleep.

Above are two options for the the range of diffusion and these are my personal favorite icons used on the remote.

Above that we have the oscillation mode indicated by two arrows, and Auto mode. I find it interesting that we don’t have an universal symbol for auto at this point, but it’s smart that Dyson didn’t try to make one here and instead opted for the word.

Finally we have the one issue with the remote. The three buttons indicating both temperature and power.

  1. The “cool” button (blue) doesn’t have a power setting immediately attached like the other two, you must increase the fan with the fan button and then press cool (in either order).
  2. The “heat” button (red) does have a power setting immediately attached, which makes it more confusing. If there was a red button and a blue button and a power button, it would be easier to parse.
  3. The design is dependent on color, making it not 100% accessible, although in a case where there are only two colors used and minimal risk to testing them (and an accompanying app that is much more accessible) maybe it’s not the worst thing they’ve ever done. However, accessible design is better design for everyone.

I’d recommend a design more like this:

You’ll notice everything is the same, except:

  1. Cool and hot are labeled to increase accessibility.
  2. Cool and hot are separate from the power of the air-flow.



Aaron Cecchini-Butler

Senior Systems Designer at Grubhub working on Cookbook (our design system) — as well as contributing to product design work.