When In Finland


I’m fairly sure I read a profile about Nokia’s Director of Design Strategy, Marko Ahtisaari, in the New Yorker a couple of years ago. If not him, someone else involved with that side of the company. Whatever the case, whenever you read something by the people who work there, you can’t help but become enamored with all things design. They talk about concepts as if the world could not continute if the didn’t make these phones fit perfectly into our lives. And, yeah, maybe even if the world didn’t end, would you really want to go on anyway? It’s that kind of dedication and knowledge that make these guys fun to read. Sure, I don’t own a Nokia phone, and I think I’m not the only one, given how it seems like they’ve been having a kinda-off couple of years, but hey, if anything, this interview with Marko should pick you up and want to design all day. Here’s a taste of the fun:

At Nokia, we believe that people are increasingly looking for simple and sensorial products. And so, the challenge is: how do you make an elegant simplicity that hides the complexity in the overall interface and experience of the product? This is a real design challenge and opportunity so we spend a lot of time at that. The theme at this conference is ‘hybrid’ – is there a better example of a mass-market hybrid product than the mobile phone? I mean, it was based on a collective good – a shared phone if you like. Transform that into a personal object. At the same time, cut the cord and it becomes a simple familiar function – but mobile. Then, the clock is there. Then text messaging and now we have the camera as well. So, it’s a platform with a lot of gravity, which is a real design challenge because this is when we start loosing the simplicity.