elise sokolowski
elise sokolowski

OXO Hydroponic System

product design & strategy


What kind of product extension can we design for OXO that will grow the brand while staying true to its simple, user-centric mission.


OXO has a selection of chopping and storing tools for herbs, yet nothing to help customers grow fresh herbs in their own kitchen.


An in-home hydroponic system (including Good Grip accessories) to grow fresh herbs for cooking.

The Good Grip’s essential line

The Good Grip’s essential line


In 1990, Sam Farber noticed his wife, who had arthritis, was struggling to use their kitchen utensils. He designed wrist-friendly cooking tools, introducing a Good Grips product line.

He discovered that thermoplastic rubber (TPR) could be used to create comfortable handles. TPR is typically used for internal gaskets because it bonds to a variety of material and is water resistant. Farber realized it would be the perfect material to make comfortable and simple kitchen utensils.

The original Good Grip products were known for their “fins” — small perforated areas of the rubber that flex when touched. The fins were a unique feature that made OXO products stand out. As the brand evolved, the fins were eliminated because the need for a visual identifier passed, and now at the heart of their product design, is ease and comfort — in whatever shape that takes.

The brand is expanding into storage, cleaning, and baby categories. What about gardening?

OXO is well-liked by cooking enthusiasts — people who want to invest in their kitchen, are excited by expanding their culinary craft, and seek the freshest ingredients.


OXO has a couple of herb grooming and preserving tools, but none for growing and utilizing herbs in a variety of ways.


We designed OXO Sprout, an in-home hydroponic herb system with accompanying Good Grip accessories.


Hydroponic System

The system attaches to users’ walls via an adjustable mount. It comes in two sizes to accommodate smaller kitchens and larger food service areas.

The water tank lives on the bottom right corner and the water is distributed to the various planters through a suctioned hose. Users refill the tanks by pouring in water into the tank and the OXO Sprout App plant notifies when the herbs are in need of more water. (Keep scrolling to see the app).


The system is installed in home or restaurant kitchens.


Users order seeds when they purchase the system. The seed packets are labeled with a serial number that unlocks the watering instructions for that specific herb within the app.


The Accessories

We created an herb dryer & grinder, an oil infuser, and a mortar & pestle to help users incorporate the herbs into their cooking in a variety of ways.

Herb Dryer & Grinder

This device allows users to dry and grind their herbs on the spot. The base is interchangeable between the the dryer and grinder. Simply press the button once to activate the dryer and grinder, and hit the button twice to release the base. It is arthritis-friendly because the bases snap on-and-off (no wrist twisting involved) and the button is a finger push.

The default set-up is the dryer with the attached grinder on the side.

The inner glass is heat sensitive so it glows when the dryer is activated.


The fresh herbs are placed in the top chamber, and when the button is pressed once, the heater is activated — the glass glows orange and the heat rises through the vent to dry the herbs.


When the grinder base is attached, the user presses the button once, the drop-down vent releases and the dried herbs fall into grinder. The grinder has four different settings to determine coarseness.


Olive Oil Infuser

OXO has a few oil pourers but nothing for infusing. The rounded shape doesn’t require a tight grip and it is equipped with a rubber, no-slip bottom.


Mortar & Pestle

A tool used to crush and grind ingredients into powder or paste. The mortar & pestle is great for users who want precise control in herb consistency. To make it easer on the joints, the pestle has a round top that fits in the palm of the hand, reducing pressure in the wrist. The grooved cap on the pestle and the rubber bottom on the mortar ensure there is no sliding — facilitating easier grinding.


The App

We designed an app that works in tandem with the hydroponic system. It guides users through the set up, provides tips for growing healthy herbs, and makes OXO Sprout accessories available for purchase.



Users create an account by entering their personal information and their system’s serial number. They can then access instructions for mounting the system to the wall and for starting the planting process.


Start Planting

When users hit the “start planting” button, they are given instructions for setting up the planters.

Users input the herb names (or serial number on seed packet) to tell the app what they’re growing.


Caring for Plants

When the user logs into their app, they are greeted with their system’s status. They can see how much time remains before their herbs are ready to be picked; and they can monitor water, nutrient, and energy level information.


System Accessories

Users can purchase the herb dryer & grinder, the oil infuser, the mortar & pestle, and the seed packets from the app.


Maintenance and Recipes

The app even provides recipe inspiration along with its tips for growing healthy plants.



User Journey

We mapped the process of seeking, purchasing, and using the hydroponic system — including emotional touchpoints and moments of brand interaction. It’s told through a story of cooking pasta — a dish that is always made better with some fresh parsley on top.



Meghan Gaffney, Experience Designer Elise Sokolowski, Experience Designer


Brand & content strategy Product design


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