Monday, November 1, 2010
Mass-Production: Au Infobars by Naoto Fukasawa
Photo from xenmobile.com
Cellular phones are frequently re-designed mass produced products. And in recent years, after the release of the iPhone by Apple, many companies have been copying its design: a slim, sleek rectangular object with a large touch screen. Innovative design is now rarely seen in the American phone industry because of the iPhone's immense popularity. However, industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa strayed away from this common design and created the Au Infobars pictured above. In many ways I find these phones to be superior in design to the iPhone.
Good design is simple. Infobars, like iPhones capitalize on simplistic design, though a phone need not be a mysterious black box to be simple. Fukasawa's phones have a beautiful line to them with minimal color scheme. The color blocking on some of the keypads is seemingly random yet is also a controlled chaos that is simultaneously calming. The shape is rectangular, but the edges are softened like a pillow so that the phone is extremely comfortable to hold and feel in the user's hands.
Good design is also functional. Based on these images, one can see that the buttons are easy to understand, and that the basic necessities of a phone are present. The phone is 11mm thick making it a good size to fit into a pocket. The buttons are large and easy to press which is often an issue for users of touch screens. The length of the phone lets the user hold it in a relaxed manner.
Good design also has a unified quality. The overall look of the phones pictured above as a collection is harmonious in color. In addition, the shapes of the buttons are rounded and not harshly edged, just like the overall body of the phone.