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Industrial designer Ralf Jakubowski was not driving too fast. But his designs for speed recording systems have been recognized with a wide range of awards, enough to impress Gerrit Palm, his partner at Jenoptik.

Old-school roadside camera boxes are giving way to the TraffiTower. And for this the world has to thank Ralf Jakubowski, who has been designing Jenoptik products for years. His project has veritably ushered in a new era in traffic monitoring aesthetics. Since 2006, the TraffiTower idea has blossomed into a handsome range of products used to monitor speeds and red light violations. Their designs have received a number of honors stretching from the Red Dot to the iF Design Award.

Unlike consumer goods, which cater to the tastes of the market, you are able to work more freely when it comes to investment goods, and you can leave your own mark on the world.

Ralf Jakubowski, Industrial Designer
Traffi Compact

The side of the road can be a rough place

And this in turn informs the designing process. Among a large number of factors, vandalism has to be prevented, the impact of potential collisions has to be mitigated, and the system has to stand up to a wide range of temperatures.  While Jenoptik developers and product managers are well in tune with equipment requirements, the sales team takes all customer needs into account, and the entire package is ultimately turned over to the designer to bring it all together.

Industrial design is nothing for lonesome cowboys

“Although it may seem as if only one person is responsible for the complete design, something along the lines of film credits would be more appropriate,” Ralf Jakubowski explained. As in a game of ping pong, designs and changes go back and forth until everyone is happy. And Jakubowski is happy to live with compromise. He added that, “unlike consumer goods, which cater to the tastes of the market, you are able to work more freely when it comes to investment goods, and you can leave your own mark on the world.”

The TraffiTower blends into its surroundings

“With its metallic sides, I myself completely overlooked the first TraffiTower on the Jenoptik campus, falling for my own tricks,” Jakubowski admitted. Municipalities appreciate its low-key aesthetics – and visuals play an important role when it comes to sales. Improving the image of traffic monitoring is all part of the deal.

left: Ralf Jakubowski, right: Gerrit Palm

Ralf Jakubowski’s designs have been recognized, time and again, with a range of awards, enough to impress Gerrit Palm.


left: Ralf Jakubowski, Product Designer, Ratingen
right: Gerrit Palm, Jenoptik Sales Manager, Traffic Solutions, Monheim

Helicopters are next

Ralf Jakubowski has now designed the SkyHoist to be used, for example, to rescue people in emergency situations. His work with emergency rescue services as a teenager has been a particular inspiration for him on the project. And design matters here as well, as he explained: “People enjoy having equipment that resembles what they see in futuristic movies and elegant designs raise people’s spirits.” Jakubowski’s SkyHoist has been recognized with both the German Design Award and the Good Design Award in the U.S.