Phone as status symbol (1993)


I can’t remember if there was a concrete brief or if this was a so called free assignment. What I do remember was that I strongly disagreed with the main professor on whether or not mobile phones shall be seen in the near future (after 1993) as a fashion item, status symbol and part of the identity and that it will be used by women too.

This was the existing state of affairs around that time:

I thought yes on both accounts, the status of the phone was very different at the time. They were black, bulky and square.

The color choice of the body was to make it clear this project was also about the phone being a fashion item, status symbol and part of the identity of the wearer. The green buttons were unfortunate as I could not find that quickly a good alternative.

My Solution

The solution was a, what is called, ergonomic phone that could be used by left and right-handed people with ease. It still works really well in both hands, so well for larger as smaller hands. Of course the buttons are not relevant in the era of smartphones, but in that time they made sense. But what I noticed after a while of using the phone, I got cramp in my hand. The ergonomic idea only worked for a certain time period. This I later discussed with a Finnish occupational health expert, and he said that most of the industrial designers he had spoken too got ergonomics wrong. He had a point.

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One of the ideas I tried to convey was to let the phone somehow reflect an animal, a bug, perhaps. Something that lies on the table and when the phone rings the hearing part could or would extend outwards. This as the creature waking up. Of course after a moment of thinking I realized that this is impractical, but the animal idea stayed and inspired me to certain shape choices.

This is a repost of an earlier version from November 14, 2015. Some images were missing, I realized.