For some, a handset is nothing more than a palm-sized gadget to make calls with. Hwang Sung-gul begs to differ. To him and his team, it is an elegant balance between art and science, human and machine. Hwang Sung-gul, the creative designer of mobile devices at Motorola Korea, talks in an interview with the JoongAng Daily, about the thinking and work that goes into designing a mobile phone.
I don’t think mobile phones are like any other electronic product. For instance, a trend-sensitive woman would buy a handset that matches her style. But would [she] buy a TV that matches her style? I don’t think so.
Like in fashion, there are some timeless trends in mobile phone design – for instance the color black. But just like in fashion, trends come and go quickly in mobile phones. It is important to detect and reflect them.
I think the role design plays is to give people a sense of aspiration. For instance, you’re driving and you see a Mini Cooper. The sight makes you smile. I think that’s the role of design: Helping people relieve stress and make them happy in their daily grind – like looking at someone you love.
I also think design should be human-friendly and human-empowering. For instance, we would very rarely design something asymmetrically because it is people’s basic psychology to look for symmetry.