Video: Marko Ahtisaari Talks About the Lumia 920’s Design

| November 22, 2012 | 26 Replies

Marko Ahtisaari, the head designer at Nokia, and the genius behind the Fabula design that first debuted in the N9, sits down and explains the design process behind the Lumia 920.


Marko starts off by mentioning that all eyes are on Nokia’s design (perhaps hinting at HTC’s recent tendency to be “inspired” by Nokia). He then talks about the design language  where they didn’t  make a product “for the sake of being different” but rather made it different to fit a certain function.

I really love this video, Marko’s way of talking is very soothing and reassuring, he knows what he’s talking about and is confident. Although I couldn’t help but be reminded of Apples Design videos, featuring their designer Jonathon Ives (who’s the only person on the planet who does less work than the Porsche designers- TopGear joke).


Category: Lumia, Nokia, Windows Phone

About the Author ()

Hey, my name's Ali- Currently a fifth (and final) year Dental Student from Chicago; studying in Jordan. I love all sorts of gadgets almost as much as I love my cookies! Be sure to follow my Twitter handle @AliQudsi and Subcribe to my Youtube for the latest videos - no pressure. Thanks.
  • MeeDroid

    I bet evil Elop threatened good guy Marko’s job if Marko supported a Nokia N9 successor!

    • You do realize that Markos father is the president of Finland and a former UN diplomat, which basically means Marko can do whatever the hell he wants (he’s also a millionaire so that helps too), in other words he wouldn’t be on board with Nokia of he didn’t want to.

      Note-I realize you were probably making a joke but just thought I’d share too 🙂

      • CaylandUgg

        Former president of Finland*

        • Sefriol

          The title “President of Finland” lasts forever. There are 2 titles which define the president. “The President of the Republic of Finland” is in office title, “President of Finland” post-presidential career title.

    • shallow ocean shoal

      Holy mackerals, Jolla is here, 920 is here, why can’t you be a peaceful citizen?

    • hadenough

      I’ve had enough of you evil Android trolls. I hope all you trolls know you’re going suffer in the afterlife for being such terrible people.

      • hadenough

        *and also for supporting such a purely evil company, which is Google.

  • Grendell

    Same here, I like the way Marko talks. There’s a soothing quality to his voice that harkens back to those old Bob Ross painting videos. I like both the Fabula design family and the philosophy employed in deriving each. Since the N9, I couldn’t imagine any other way a phone should look to/interface with its user.

    • Carbontubby

      Bob Ross, yeah, those fluffy little clouds and clumps of trees with a quick slash of the brush 🙂

      Fabula + removable battery + MicroSD for the next flagship would be great, the 820 just seems a little plain.

    • Ld. Sidious

      +1 for Bob Ross. We don’t make mistakes, we have happy accidents. 🙂

    • Harangue

      Soothing Bob Ross voice yet he looks like Zao from Die Another Day, minus the diamonds lodged in his face.

  • swain

    The way he was explaining the design reminded me the launch event of samsung galaxy s3(inspired by nature, designed for human etc…)

  • Weirdfisher

    A bit of apple style

  • Sue

    Instead of comparing him to someone else, lets just appreciate him. He has indeed made a design which kicks other’s (apple & htc) ass. . .

    • incognito

      Actually, he barely had anything to do with the ‘Fabula’ design lineage – he wasn’t even EVP of Design while it was in the making so you couldn’t credit him even for managerial tasks during its development.

      Granted, he might have had something to say with the latest iteration as seen with the Lumia 920 but, to repeat myself, if you want to praise someone for that lovely design language the credit should go to Anton Fahlgren, Nicolás Lylyk, Mika Nenonen, Tiina Aarras, Lynda Jones, Casper Asmussen, Axel Meyer… And keeping in mind that the ‘Fabula’ design was meant to be Nokia’s babystep in designing hardware and software in parallel, from the get-go, to match each other (something only Apple is doing still) some credit should go to the designers of the ‘squircle’ theming, Swipe UI etc. Too bad the second part (the design which extends to the software) is gone with the WP adaptation which is why the full design package can only be seen on the N9 (and to some extent in Nokia, pardon, Here maps – icons and fields still follow the ‘squircle’ paradigm).

      Either way, compared to the guys n’ gals listed, and many others unlisted, Marko had a minimal influence on the design ‘which kicks the asses of others’. The greatest trick he ever pulled was convincing others that he somehow was responsible for that iconic design.

      • Xpress0705

        Totally agree with incognito! The design language of the recent phones from Nokia all take cues from the N9. That design was made from scratch up with only one thing in mind, the hardware complementing software. All claims made about this being made for WP8 is partially true!

        The curved screen was made to allow the Swipe interface to be more intuitive on the N9 as the gesture would feel more natural. That, the squircles icons, the Nokia Pure font and the all touch interface made the N9 a simple yet beautiful phone, where the software blended with the hardware. Not to mention the double tap to wake and always on LPSM notification screen. That was a major breakthrough!

        It was the first time and probably the last one too where Nokia outsimplified Apple in one complete package and got it right!!

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  • Michael Faro-Tusino

    He made the same speech at Slush 2012.

    Since seeing him unveil the N9 at Nokia Connection in 2011, I knew I would like him. He has to be my favourite Nokian. The way he talks about the devices, you can tell he is passionate and believes in what he does.

  • Marc Aurel

    Marko Ahtisaari is the Executive VP of design, but he’s not a designer himself. He used to be a professional musician and studied philosophy in university, but he has no training or formal education in industrial design and I don’t think he has ever actually made any designs beyond some ideas and sketches (which are just a start and not the whole design process as any pro designer knows).

    • Lalala

      Yep. Marko is not behind the fabula design or N9 ui or anything. He is the head of design not head designer. If you watch Engadget interview with Peter Skillman when he was showing N9 he mentions the name of the guy who’s team created the fabula design language for the N9.

      Marko is great presenter but he’s far from being genius designer. Nokia has huge design team and Marko is manager of that team.

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  • D Harries

    The phone is a work of art. Rounded polycarbonate body with sculpted glass. Though screen size is interesting. Are we going any bigger?

  • D Harries

    If this was Apple, they would strip out the phone circuits and sell it as a Windows touch device

    • apocacrux

      They would have, but Zune died.