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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Moggridge

Bill Moggridge, Inventor of the First Laptop, Has Died

Moggridge is famous for designing the Grid Compass computer in 1982. In particular, he was responsible for pushing for a computer design which included a flat-panel screen that folded down onto the device’s own keyboard, along with compact circuitry to keep it portable.

The clamshell design, matte black finish and tight angles, and clunky are still enough to get us “all hot and bothered“. Its impact was celebrated in 2010 when it won the Prince Philip Designers Prize—the oldest design award in the UK.

The device wasn’t just critically acclaimed, though. Despite its lack of integrated hard disk or floppy drive, the magnesium-cased computer was quickly adopted by NASA and the US military. It even made its way into space aboard Space Shuttle Discovery in 1985.

Thirty years later, and laptop computers still use the same basic clamshell design originally proposed by Moggridge. That alone is testimony of his design genius—and a life worth celebrating.

Image by Mayo Nissen under Creative Commons license

Bill was on a war path: He wanted design to be taught early on in school

Is the goal of a brand to changing kids’ worldview?

Seth Godin said in an interview with Debbie Millman: “Has a corporation the obligation to change kids’ worldview? If the answer is NO, selling products that match kids’ expectation is what shareholders need the company to do.  If the answer is YES  “companies have the obligation to transform worldview” then, there is a long list of brands that we could talk about.

Branding is rarely presented to the world with this message: “authentically made by people who believe exactly what you believe…”  There’s a long history of marketing not being authentic. For example, AXE antiperspirants brand sells half the time by appealing to horny avarice, and half the time to tapping into the insecurity of 15 year-old can feel…

Margaret Youngblood said: “There is a significant shift in consumers attitudes: Consumers are demanding facts and truth in the product, in the company ethical positions, their organizational behavior, how they treat employees, how products are manufactured, how they spend their profits… You see kids graduating and they don’t want to “just get a job”:  They want to work for a company they respect and has the same values they think they have…”

“Consumers know that companies are private entities with objective of making plenty of profits. But when people start suspecting that public institutions and governments are not honest with them then, they feel obligated to question corporations deeper and deeper on their value system, on how honest they are acting and behaving.  Consumers were pressured to taking matters in their hands as public institutions failed to seriously regulate and monitor the safety and health of products and services…”

Bill Moggridge is on a war path: He wants “design” to be taught early on in kids’ schools.  As Bill said: “It doesn’t occur to most people that everything is designed...”  At least, high school kids should study design, and business leaders to understand that intractable design conundrums can be solved by interdisciplinary design teams.

The success of design hinges on designers’ empathy for a public that may not be as well-versed in design as designers are. He said: “We are often guilty of designing for ourselves…Designers have to learn a more nuanced language…”

(I agree with Moggridge, and I go further and say: “It doesn’t occur to most people that every human value is politics…”  Brands are specifically designed to tapping into the current ideological system and into the opposed political trend.  Brands are practically telling a story that either sustain the current predominant cultural structure or siding with the “rebel” attitudes for changing the consensus value-system climate…)

Note 1: Seth Godin published short books “Purple cow”, “Meatball Sundae”, Tribes, Linchpin, “Free Prize Inside”, and the latest “Poke the Box” sold on Domino project with Amazon.  Seth start-ups are Yoyodyne, Squidoo, and MBA program…

Note 2: Margaret Youngblood is director of Trinity Brand Group and former executive designer at Landor.  She worked on projects for clients like FedEX, Xerox, Danone, Pathe, the 2002 Winter Olympics, YWCA, H&R Block…

Note 3: Bill Moggridge is cofounder of IDEO and is currently the director of Cooper-Hewitt, the National Design Museum.  He contributed to the creation of the first laptop.




June 2023

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