With the worldwide introduction of the GALAXY Nexus, the unique physical design is turning heads and catching eyes. Even before you get a chance to check out the powerful device specifications, you can’t help but sense that the Nexus is changing the playing field. Its streamlined shape sets it apart from existing smartphones, with a sleek design that effortlessly integrates functionality. The GALAXY Nexus does away with cumbersome buttons, creating a harmonious mix of style and power. We spoke to designers TaeJoong Kim and GiYoung Lee to learn more about the GALAXY Nexus’s ergonomic design.
Inspired by Nature
The inspiration for the Nexus came from an image of a magnolia petal floating in midair. The goal was to capture the delicate beauty of the curve of a magnolia petal as it falls to the ground.
“All the design projects I’m working on take cues from nature,” says TaeJoong Kim. “Nature is authentic and infinite.” “Before, we tried to take inspiration from polished sports cars and other graceful designs,” adds GiYoung Lee, “but then we realized that nature was the source of all inspiration.”
The magnolia petal’s elegant curve was the perfect fit for the GALAXY Nexus body’s ergonomics By using curved glass, the designers were able to achieve a greater visceral impact.
Ergonomic Design for Any Situation
For a design to be called great, it must satisfy standards of both beauty and functionality. As technology behind electronic devices progresses at an ever-faster rate, the design must continue to evolve to keep pace. At the core of that evolution is nature and the human body.
In contrast with other smartphones’ cold straight-line design, the GALAXY Nexus’s ergonomic form was designed to emphasize the warmth found in nature. The design team says, “We wanted a design that would feel completely natural whether a user was answering a call or putting the phone in the back pocket of skintight jeans.”
The GALAXY Nexus is the first to feature Google’s latest Ice Cream Sandwich OS. Designers carefully considered materials that would showcase the cutting edge nature of the smartphone. “A metallic varnish was chosen for the main color, to give a sense of class,” says Kim. “Also for the back cover we used a Soft Feel varnish, for improved grip. In addition to metallic silver and white, there are other colors in development for various regions.”
Challenges and Breakthroughs
The main design concept was the use of a natural curve for an ergonomic design. However, the slim design that is expected of today’s smartphones could not be sacrificed. The challenge became how to create a more natural device while losing none of the features. The design team told us of their challenges.
“We used the Soft Feel varnish on the battery cover for improved grip but because of a characteristic of the varnish, it was difficult to match the color with the rear’s metallic spray. I think it’s the product designers’ duty to overcome these difficulties with a deep understanding of the structure, use, and even the production process. Also to make the device more streamlined, we rearranged the hardware components. The development team put a lot of effort in too. Through all this we were finally able to maintain the ergonomic curve as well as the grip. It was all in an effort to adhere to the main design concept.”
There were ample challenges that came with rewriting the rules to smartphone design, but through hard work and creativity the designers were able to overcome them to design a product with a natural and sleek exterior.
TaeJoong Kim defined the GALAXY Nexus as “harmony.” The harmony between nature and ergonomics, and also the harmony between Samsung’s groundbreaking technology, Google’s latest OS, and the streamlined design. Designer GiYoung Lee also emphasized the group effort that brought the Nexus into being.
“The Nexus is the result of great teamwork and cooperation,” says Ms. Lee. “It was great to see different departments work together for the same goal. When we all realized that we were all striving for the best possible product, I think people really started to appreciate the hard work and contribution of other departments.”