Q&A With Nokia Design Team

| February 21, 2013 | 16 Replies


We had a chance to put some questions forth to the Nokia Design team; of course there were some obvious things we couldn’t ask about; but all in all i found it pretty interesting to finally speak to one of the guys that works behind the scenes in Nokia’s labs.

-Rumor followers might find the question about Aluminum bodies interesting 😉

Hey there, it’s Ali from MyNokiaBlog.com; first off we’re huge fans of all your work (duh!); so what’s your Name/ Position at the top secret Nokia Design lab?

I’m Jonne Harju, and I’m a Senior Design Manager in Nokia Design!


How long have you been working as part of the Nokia Design team?

7+ years

What type of degree does someone have to have to be part of a phone design team? Arts? Engineering?

We have multiple roles inside the Design Team, but most people have Design Degrees (BA / MA) in different areas like Industrial Design, Product Design, Fashion Design, Graphics Design, UX design etc. We also have people working on different areas like research, trend analysis, technical support etc. and these people can have an education outside Design also.


What’s the coolest/weirdest thing about working in a confidential/top secret design lab? Do you work in some sort of underground bunker?

J We are working on future global mobile innovations and design, and it has to be taken seriously when it comes to keeping secrets. That said, there are no bunkers – actually, we need to always keep our eyes open and see the surrounding world to understand where it is moving.                       


The toughest question I could think of, what’s your all-time favorite Nokia (or other!) phone design? And why?

This is actually easy — I love the Nokia N9 and Lumia 800. The whole process of how they were done and what it triggered has been important for us in Nokia Design. The devices changed the way how we create phones and set the bar higher.


Some less personal more work involved questions…

When designing a phone do you start with the external look then try and fit the insides (camera, processor, antennas etc.) in it; or do they start with the internals and then try to make a design to accommodate the internals?

Designing inside-out is really our way to create new mobile devices. We do not work in silos: best results come from fluent co-operation with industrial designers, color and material specialists, mechanic designers, engine architects, antenna specialists, material specialists, etc. It is the only way to create magic.


Comparing the screens of the 900 and the 920, the 920’s seems much easier to swipe/drag your finger across; besides the fact that the 920s screen is curved is there a reason for this? (some have speculated that there’s a slight oleophobic coating on the 920 which helps)

We started our curved front glass design with polycarbonate unibody already with Nokia N9/Lumia 800, and were able to continue that with the Lumia 920. Swiping your finger outside the display is easier when there’s curvature on the edge – that naturally supports the movement.

There are reports of dust getting trapped under the Front facing camera of the Lumia 920, are you guys aware of this?

(Image link: http://discussions.nokia.com/discussions/attachments/discussions/Nokia_with_Windows_Phone/25541/1/_DSC0215.JPG)

We have heard of this, yes, and are looking into the matter. We take all such concerns seriously.


Aluminum bodied devices such as the N8 were pretty cool, any reason why you’ve moved away from them? Are signal reception and body heat a major factor in aluminum bodies (hence the plastic lens cap on the N8)

All materials are important and can be cool if used in right way. We wanted to take a step forward and bring simplicity and new innovation to the phones – with a polycarbonate unibody we can bring more vibrant colours and simplicity. By using pc unibody we have less challenges with very demanding antenna requirements compared to conductive materials such as metals.


Where would you draw the line for a phone to be considered “too thick” or “too heavy” especially in lights of the (honestly ridiculous) criticism that the 920 is overweight?

We’re extremely happy with the 920 – we think it’s the world’s most innovative smartphone. We design our devices to pass complex and demanding tests do consumers can enjoy the device without being too afraid of it breaking easily.


I know Nokia doesn’t have a tablet device, but theoretically how much more difficult is it to design a tablet than it is a smartphone? Especially when tablets all have the same general “look” which is a large rectangle?

I have to say, my main focus at the moment is on devices and what we can do in that space.


If possible could you take a quick look at some of the DreamNokias and just give us a quick estimate to how Possible/improbable designing one would be (from a viewpoint of specs/internals/shape/material budget etc)?

Since these are obviously 3D renderings and not existing devices so it is tough for me to comment for a number of reasons. However, I think it is great to see such passion in terms of designing Nokia devices.



Category: Lumia, Maemo, MeeGo, Nokia, Symbian, 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.