Huawei phones, look backwards

Give you a piece of colorless and transparent glass, only 0.5mm thick. You need to design it uniquely, while ensuring a good feel, scratch resistance and drop resistance. Most importantly, it can be mass-produced and the cost is controllable.

Sounds like embarrassing you on purpose?

In fact, this is a problem that mobile phone manufacturers’ designers face every day.

▲Some unfinished mobile phone back cover glass

The face of the phone is supported by CMF

According to a survey conducted by the Secretariat of the Seoul International Color Expo, as many as 92% of respondents said that they value visual factors when purchasing products.

According to a survey conducted by Mauro New Media, a product design and research company that has provided consulting services to manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung, the appearance of smartphones has an impact on consumer purchase decisions by as much as 50%, and the impression can be formed in about 1 second.

▲ Picture from: MKBHD

Making mobile phones look more beautiful is a compulsory course for every mobile phone manufacturer.

In the era of full screen, it is difficult for you to judge the model and the beauty and ugliness through the front of the phone. Therefore, the back has become the face of the mobile phone, and it is a must for designers.

Beautiful or not, look at the back. For mobile phones, it is CMF that determines the beauty of their back. Namely the abbreviation of Color, Material and Finishing.

▲ Picture from: feelgood

We have counted 8 major brands, 42 5G phones released in 2021, and 130 color combinations. Among them, the back covers of 84 color matching are all made of glass, accounting for about 65%.

Glass is so popular not just because of its good texture. Compared with metal, it has little interference to the signal. Compared with plastic, it has higher thermal conductivity and is more conducive to heat dissipation. Compared with ceramics, it has a high mass production yield and is not easy to roll over.

Since there are not many choices in materials at present, the burden of making mobile phones a "back view killer" naturally falls on the color and surface treatment technology.

This brings me back to the question of the beginning of the article. Facing a piece of transparent glass as thin as 5 sheets of paper, how should designers release their creativity?

The design team of Huawei P50 Pocket (Huawei P50 Treasure Box) gave a special answer. Among the three colors, the obsidian black is calm and restrained, while the crystal diamond white and gilded art custom versions are bolder and avant-garde. The design story behind it is also quite interesting.

A color scheme, it takes two years

Innovation is not something you can work hard to achieve by losing a few hairs. It often requires inspiration.

Finding inspiration from life and nature is an unsatisfactory method. The Huawei P50 treasure box design team told Ai Faner that the first inspiration for them was the Louvre in Paris.

▲ Picture from: timesofindia

This glass pyramid is one of the masterpieces of master Pei. Time passed, dazzling. Can the back shell of the mobile phone have a similar effect?

The results of the evaluation were disappointing. To achieve the ideal look and feel, the glass needs to be transparent enough and reflective enough. Moreover, the Louvre is very large and has enough space to be created by lighting and the surrounding environment, but mobile phones cannot.

How to move the brilliance of the Louvre into 0.5mm thick glass? A Japanese designer in the design department suddenly got inspiration when he was drinking water one day.

▲ Picture from: SouHu

What inspired them was a glass. It has an extremely thin cup wall and looks smooth and flexible. This is made by a traditional Japanese craft called "Edo Kiriko". It requires a craftsman to hold a thin glass and cut out various shapes on a grinding wheel to achieve a shining and flowing look.

This is very close to the effect the team wants to achieve. They try to control the robotic arm through programming and use CNC knives to cut. But after trying hundreds of times, they gave up.

"The robotic arm is not as flexible as a human hand, nor is it as flexible as an artist, so a lot of glass is broken." The design team was in trouble.

Occasionally, a designer stacked two pieces of embossed glass together. A strange thing happened, the light and shadow changed with the angle, which was exactly the effect they wanted.

In the following 7 months, the team visited various glass factories for investigation. How to emboss the double-sided texture, how to achieve a diamond-like cut surface, and what coating to achieve the transparency of the Louvre version, all have found the answer through trial and error.

In the end, the team finalized a design plan for the P50 treasure box. On both sides of 0.5mm thick glass, double-sided three-dimensional micro-sculpting technology is used to convert two-dimensional plane light and shadow into three-dimensional space, creating a three-dimensional light and shadow flow effect.

To put it simply, first cut a layer of 0.05mm thick texture on the side of the glass facing upwards. Next, on the downward side, cut a layer of 0.03mm thick texture, staggering the direction of the upper layer.

what is this concept? Generally, the diameter of male hair is between 0.08-0.4mm, which means that the thickness of its texture is even thinner than hair.

Such overlap, visually form about 1,000 diamond-shaped squares. Under the irradiation of light, the back cover of the mobile phone becomes a three-dimensional space, shining brightly and flowing brightly.

This is the origin of the unique artistic sense of crystal diamond white and the brilliant color of crystal diamond. Two years of exploration has created a visual feast.

Customized version, not only good-looking

More than a month after finalizing the crystal diamond white color scheme, a designer saw a dance video of a ballet dancer on the Internet. The dancers' clothes are elegant, sci-fi, and mysterious, which deeply attracted the design team.

Through the designer of Huawei's French Institute, the team contacted the fashion designer Iris Van Herpen in the video.

Friends who are familiar with advanced customization may have heard of this brand from the Netherlands. Since 2011, Iris Van Herpen has only done couture, and has repeatedly made a lot of attention on the catwalks of high-definition fashion week.

This post-80s female science graduate designer is particularly fascinated by technology. She doesn't like to use traditional fabrics, but uses glass, 3D printing materials, silicone and other new materials to make clothes. The design works have been collected by well-known museums such as the Metropolitan Museum and the Palais du Oriente in Paris.

▲ Picture from: Clothing made using 3D printing technology

Iris Van Herpen's work has a strong sense of line and rhythm, just like Issey Miyake (Issey Miyake). However, the design concepts of the two are different. The former focuses on "Posthumanism" (Posthumanism).

Simply put, it is to discuss the relationship between technology and humans and explore the future of fashion. Iris Van Herpen hopes that by constantly seeking new forms, new forms can be found at the intersection between art and science, humanity and high technology, man-made and organic.

▲ Iris Van Herpen's works often have mechanical and technological elements

This concept hit it off with the P50 Treasure Box design team, and the two parties quickly finalized their willingness to cooperate.

In terms of the product itself, what color should I choose? Both sides thought of "spark." Inspiration is a spark, and so is the excitement of finding a friend. As a result, the golden sparkle has become the theme color of the art customized version.

Gold represents luxury, mystery, and nobility. Since the Shang and Zhou dynasties, my country began to decorate with gold products such as gold flakes and gold leaf. For thousands of years, it has been widely loved by people.

In some haute couture garments, gold is often seen. For example, Zuhair Murad loves gold very much, which is a golden landscape in the fashion circle.

▲Zuhair Murad haute couture fashion show. Picture from: nickverrreos

But what few people know is that gold is actually difficult to adjust. Greenish hue will look like red rust, reddish hue will be old-fashioned.

After repeated discussions and debugging by the team, we finally got the gilded art customized version that everyone saw. The color is restrained, and the extravagance is elegant.

The surface of the art customized version still uses a three-dimensional micro-engraving process, and the iconic texture of Iris Van Herpen is engraved on the fuselage, conveying the design concept of art and technology symbiosis.

It can be said that the crystal white color matching and the gilt gold art customized version are an innovation of Huawei mobile phones in the CMF field, and they have fought a beautiful battle in the mobile phone "war of the back".

Looking backward is to better move forward

Japanese sociologist Miura Exhibition stated in the "Fourth Consumer Era" that with economic development, consumers will pay more attention to the personalization, diversification and differentiation of products.

For smart phones, the back cover is a window to show personalization, diversification and differentiation. Looking "rearward" is to cater to consumers' psychological changes and win the competition.

Huawei has accumulated a lot of experience in this area. The Ascend P6, released in 2013, can be regarded as a turning point in Huawei's mobile phone design. This was known as the world's thinnest smartphone at the time and was created by the famous designer Nick Woodley.

▲Huawei Ascend P6 series

The P8 released in 2015 has achieved new achievements in CMF. All aluminum alloy body, streamer texture, 6 trendy colors, unique design style.

When it comes to P10, the color design is bolder, with as many as 8 colors. Among them, the metal sandblasting process is used for gold, silver, rose gold, black, and green, and the baking varnish process is used for ceramic white.

▲Huawei P10 series

Diamond carving blue and diamond carving gold are special. They use a new process called "Hyper Diamond Cutting". The method uses CNC to cut more than 1 million tiny textures on the metal surface.

The CMF of the P20 series is even more out-of-the-box. It uses PVD coating technology to directly apply multi-layer optical coating on the curved glass cover to achieve gradual structural color, marking the maturity of the mass production of gradual color smart phones and also leading a new generation The wave of gradual color coating technology.

▲Huawei P20 series

When a design becomes a phenomenal trend, it becomes a style. This is the case with the gradient color of P20, which symbolizes that Huawei has begun to establish its own aesthetic order.

Following the aurora color, P30 Red Tea Orange and Sky Realm have once again become popular colors. Among them, the Skyland uses a gradual plating process, which is composed of 9 layers of nano-vacuum optical coating, and the thickness is only 1/100 of a piece of paper, showing Huawei's experience and confidence in the CMF field.

▲Huawei P30 series

The P40 series released in 2020 marks that the aesthetics of Huawei mobile phones has reached a new level. The frosty silver is superimposed on the frosted glass and the nano-textured diaphragm to reflect the depth of field caustics, which is deep and smart.

The nano-scale microcrystalline ceramic technology used in the super cup requires 5 days and 5 nights 1500 degrees flame calcination, supplemented by fine grinding and polishing, to create a warm and tough texture and feel.

▲Huawei P40 series

Before the P50 series, Huawei looked to the "rear", mainly in line with the design of the back cover, in line with the creation of an aesthetic highland, and the establishment of an aesthetic order. The emergence of the P50 series adds another meaning to "post": post-humanism.

As mentioned earlier, post-humanism emphasizes the relationship between technology and mankind, and the symbiosis of technology and art. The ripple color of the P50 series adopts millisecond-level electro-dimming technology. When there is an incoming call or an alarm clock, the texture will follow the rhythm. This is the embodiment of the symbiosis of technology and art.

▲Huawei P50 Pro ripple cloud color

And the bionic concept contained in the Iris Van Herpen brand, thinking about people and the environment, people and technology, are also poured into the gilt gold art customized version of the P50 Pocket.

This is an attitude and an aesthetic system that Huawei is constantly evolving.

▲ Group photo of Huawei P series

In today's market, no brand can rely on the success of a single product to obtain sustained volume. If brand design wants to create a clear impression on consumers, the secret lies in attitude and system.

In the past, Apple took the lead in constructing its own aesthetic order. From packaging to products, it strictly followed the simple and pure aesthetic style, which had a profound impact on the industry.

But art should not have only one voice, and style should not have only one definition. For domestic brands, reviewing and writing their own unique aesthetic order is the only way for the brand to move forward. Huawei is on the way.

TalkFresh. Work email: wanghelong@ifanr.com.

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