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Paul Kim

Paul, you have been designing flashlights for many years. Why start the new ICON brand?

I wanted to create the modern day flashlight for everyday use.

One of the reasons that people do not consider carrying a flashlight is design. When you think of the word "flashlight," you often think of a big, black object that takes four D-cell batteries and belongs in the garage. But the modern day flashlight does not need to be that size. It can be compact, powerful and even attractive to the eye.

ICON is designed with a sense of style that doesn't currently exist in the marketplace. My vision is to design a flashlight that is different than anything you've seen. We started off by introducing the Rogue, but you will see more body styles coming out in the future. I hope I can show consumers a different way of thinking about flashlights.

So, the purpose of ICON is to create something that is stylistically different?

No, the purpose of Icon is to create a quality product. But quality can come from a variety of elements. For ICON, quality comes from three areas - technology, ergonomics, and art.

A lot of flashlights look nice, but have very little technological substance to them. We have incorporated the latest in LED technology into ICON lights along with microprocessors and thermal management systems that allow multiple light levels and superior battery performance.

As for ergonomics, you can create a nice looking product but if it doesn't feel right in your hand, or doesn't fit with the way you carry or utilize the light, you've failed. Do you realize that the contour of your hand's grip is not round in shape? I hate round. Manufacturers make round flashlights because they are easy to machine. But products that are square or even triangular in shape fit better in your hand.

Finally, to create the ultimate product, there has to be some art in your design. I've been told that the right side of my brain and the left side of my brain are always at war with each other. I guess that's so. I'm equal parts scientist and artist.

Let's talk about ICON's first flashlight - the Rogue. It's an unusual design.

As a designer, I believe that form follows function. And with an aluminum flashlight, there are a lot of things going on. First, you need to dissipate heat coming from the LED, so you need to create an optimum heat transferring path. You also have to give the user the ultimate grip on the light. So, there are a lot of considerations to make when you machine fins into the aluminum, but they are intentional and have a purpose.

Will ICON be sticking with aluminum flashlights, or will we see other types of materials?

There are no materials that I am partial to. It is true that some consider me an artist of machined aluminum. But that is largely due to my background in aeronautics where I had the opportunity to explore the possibilities of machining rugged aluminum parts from high-strength aluminum alloys. Aluminum is an easy material to work with from a machining aspect too. It also has good heat transfer qualities and is a conductive material. So, it is an optimal material for ICON to use.

But I do not like or dislike any particular material. It is all driven by application. Where is it being used? What purpose is being served? You will see a lot of new shapes and new materials in the future from ICON that you probably have never seen before.

Stay tuned. There is a lot to come from ICON.