Nokia's chief designer, Alistair Curtis, talked with BusinessWeek (back in mid-2006) about the company's design DNA ... about car doors ...
If we took all the engineers into a room and turned all the lights off, and I opened up a Zippo lighter, everybody in that room would know I opened a Zippo lighter. You want it to be an iconic sound.
... and other things related to experience.
I never noticed before that the bottom of the Nokia phones I have owned, like the 1100 above, are deliberately shaped with a Mona Lisa smile. Knowing that makes me consciously happy -- and probably sub-consciously too.
What is the process of designing a phone?
Your driver is to look at the users and try to get insights into how they work and what they want from work. People can't articulate it sometimes. By observing people you see the way that they interact, the way they do things, the strange rituals they have.
How do you make a form factor that's a meaningful part of the experience and not just for the fun of doing a weird form factor? Form factor should be driven by true benefit and need.
How do you stay on top of style trends?
We start off by looking three years out at weak trends. They're not weak as in 'bad' ... They're trends we see by working with textile designers, fashion designers, paint specialists, material specialists.