Top Ten Designers in Mobile.
Since the commercialisation of the mobile phone in the early 1990’s varying faces have come and gone in the pursuit of the mobile centric world. The launch of the iPhone is still seen as the ‘tipping point’ for the anytime, anywhere generation, as standardised mobile computing drove the collective power of the internet into the pockets of consumers.
In celebration of two decades of mobile design, I enlisted the support of local design Ninja, Dora Kelly (@doralinkelly) to collate the ultimate list of designers that have driven the mobile transformation.
The list highlight people that have created designs that have met the site’s objectives/business goals i.e increase in traffic, successful task completion, made an impact in the industry or gained recognition from prestigious design awards/accolades and worked with notable brands to drive mobile centric behaviours.
Not everyone on the list is still in their ground breaking jobs. So we’ve made an effort to highlight their pivotal achievement.
1. Jonathan Ive, SVP Industrial Design. Apple
When Apple launched iOS 7, it was the first version of its mobile operating system designed under Ive. Ive is pushed a “‘flat design’ that is starker and simpler.” Last fall, Apple gave Ive more control over the look and feel of iOS. He previously only led the design of Apple’s hardware products including the iPhone, iMac, and MacBook. “When I look around the executive team table, I see superstars,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference earlier this year. “I see people who are at the very top of their game. I see people like Jony Ive, who’s the best designer in the world. He’s now bringing his talents to our software as well.”
2. Tony Fadell, Founder & CEO. Nest @tfadell
Tony Fadell is often referred to as the “Father of the iPod” because he created the first prototype for the iPod and worked as the senior vice president of the iPod division from 2006 to 2008. While at Apple, Fadell oversaw the development of several generations of the iPod and led the hardware design and development for the first three generations of the iPhone, a device that forever changed how we consume music. Now at Nest, Fadell is working on remaking the traditional thermostat.
3. Philippe Starck, Designer @Philippe_Starck
Philippe Starck is probably best known for designing portable hard drives for LaCie. He’s also the guy behind the gorgeous Parrot Zik headphones, a personal favourite of mine. In addition to designing consumer gadgets, Starck dabbles in everything from furniture to watches to home lighting. He’s currently working at Yoo, a residential interior design firm. Before Apple CEO Steve Jobs passed away, Starck was helping him design a super yacht.
4. Danny Trinh, Product Designer. Path @dtrinh
Danny Trinh is a product designer at mobile-only social network Path. The app is often touted as one of the best designed mobile apps out there before is stumbled. When Facebook launched Home, many tech pundits said it looked very similar to Path because of its circular icons. In June 2012, Facebook’s head of mobile business Henri Moissanic even said that the world’s largest social network is trying to copy startup Path. Before joining Path in October 2010, Trinh worked as a designer at Digg for about two and a half years.
5. Joe Belfiore, Corporate VP & Manager Windows Phone. Microsoft @joebelfiore
Joe Belfiore is the person behind Microsoft’s mobile operating system. Belfiore leads the team responsible for the look and feel of Windows phone software, which is one of the most beautiful mobile operating systems out there today. Just a shame adoption didn’t follow, might have something to do with his hair.
6. Mike Matas, User Interface Design, Facebook @mike_matas
Mike Matas is a former Apple iPhone and iPad designer. Apple hired Matas at the ripe age of 19. While at Apple Matas helped build the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad software. He’s also credited as the guy who created the battery logo on the iPhone screen when it’s charging. Prior to joining Facebook, Matas co-founded digital publishing software maker Push Pop Press, which Facebook later acquired. He also helped design the Nest Learning Thermostat. Now, Matas works at Facebook on the company’s new mobile offering Home.
7. Matias Duarte, Director of UX, Android. Google @MatiasDuarte
When Matias Duarte joined Google in 2010, his first task was to develop Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and design a more intuitive interface for tablet. Since then, Duarte has led the design for Android’s more recent operating systems. Duarte previously led user interface projects at Danger, Helio, and Palm. While at Palm, Matias created and designed mobile operating system webOS, which LG later bought.
8. Mike Simonian & Maaike Evers. Designers, Google @mikeandmaaike
Mike Simonian and Maaike Evers’s design expertise can be seen in Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Belkin’s comfort mouse, and Google’s G1 phone, the first smartphone to run Android. “Working with Google, we envisioned a device that would run the open-source Android operating system, extending the functionality, intelligence, and ease of the Android experience into a phone. Now, the husband and wife duo are at Google where they first joined to design the Nexus Q, a beautiful media-streaming device that ended up being a flop. Good designers like to experiment.
9. Ken’ichiro Ashida, Hardware Designer, Nintendo @ekdodhai
Ken’ichiro Ashida led the design of the Nintendo DS and Wii, two of the top-selling game consoles of all time. Ashida also invented the Wii wheel and Wii zapper, two very popular Wii accessories. The devices we catalysts that started the expansion of the game genre beyond just a console.
10. Jim Wicks. SVP Consumer Experience Design, Motorola @JimWicks
Jim Wicks is the guy in charge of Motorola’s mobile devices. He led the development of the Motorola RAZR, one of the most popular and iconic cell phones of all time. Wicks is also the designer behind Motorola’s family of DROID smartphones. Even today, the RAZR is one of the most recognisable mobile phones.
A top ten is never enough, so we thought is was best to extend the list to twenty with a few notable mentions.
- Sophie Xie, Product Designer, Facebook
- Sabrina Majeed, Lead Designer, Venmo
- Nicolas Denhez, Senior Principal Industrial Design, Xbox at Microsoft
- Johnnie Manzari, User Interface Designer, Apple
- Theresa Neil, User Interface Designer, Theresa Neil Strategy + Design
- Geoff Koops, Designer at Rdio
- Shaun Modi, Interaction Designer at Airbnb
- Julius Tarng, Designer at Branch
- Andrew Cornett, Designer Founder, Jukely
- David Lee, Chief Creative Officer at Squarespace
Who would you suggest is missing from the list? And who will lead in 2015?