Why are more and more flagship mobile phones adopting family design?

Can you guess the make and model of these two phones if you only show a corner of the phone?

I believe that many people can see at first glance that these two mobile phones are OPPO Find X3 and Huawei Mate 40. Even consumers who are not interested in trendy electronics can guess their brands from these iconic appearances.

It's a design-inspired magic that allows consumers to identify a very specific brand without a "badge", not just in mobile phones, but even more so in the more industrially mature automotive industry.

When the car is speeding on the road, the logo icon attached to the front or rear of the car is not always easy to be recognized by people, but people who know cars can glance at the kidneys and hook-shaped running lights on the front of the car. Identify whether it was a BMW or a Lexus that just whizzed past.

Interestingly, although the history of smartphones is far less than that of automobiles, due to the much shorter update cycle of mobile phone products, the mobile phone industry has also begun to appear some design elements that can evoke users' brand identity like "Huo's Angle". It was found that the flagship series of various mobile phone brands began to look more and more alike.

"Why don't designers work?"

When you mention Apple, what keywords do you think of? A sense of simplicity, technology or ease of use that emphasizes "less is more"?

It is possible that these impressions originated with the iPhone 4, or earlier iPod and Macintosh computers.

Compared to other products of its time, Apple has always played a radical role, using new technologies to simplify products to achieve unique interactions.

The iPhone kills other phones full of buttons, and redefines the sense of technology with touch. The simple technological beauty is interpreted by Apple with a whole piece of glass and metal frame.

This impression has continued to this day, because looking back on the design history of the iPhone, we will find that these designs that first evoked people's imagination of technology have never been missing, and have become one of the most representative elements of the iPhone, even if the large glass on the front The trend has already swept the mobile phone circle, and you can still recognize it from the vast sea of ​​machines.

▲ Porsche 911 (996) controversial because of changing the lights

When a product has left a deep impression on consumers and has a certain sense of product identity, then this product will form a certain sense in the design, just like when Porsche fans buy 911, He would not want a "911" that deviates from the definition in his mind, and what determines these stereotypes can be called a family design.

This design element that can evoke a strong sense of identity for users is one of the most valuable assets of a brand, because with the increasing number of brands on the market, the interaction between brands and users will become more and more precious. With a stable emotional bond, more and more brands tend to create family-based designs.

As Jony Ive, who was Apple's chief designer at the time, mentioned in the promotional video for the iPhone 5, the mobile phone has become the most commonly used thing in people's lives. Because of this special relationship, Apple is very cautious about changing the appearance of the iPhone. .

Even if the iPhone has gone through the appearance modification of removing the headphone jack, advancing the full screen, rounding the frame and smoothing it out, you can always find some design continuations in the two generations of mobile phones in each iteration. The evolution of the style has formed the unique family design language of the brand.

behind the familiarity

There are many factors that can evoke your impression of a product family. It may be the ID design on the front of the phone, the layout of the camera, or the texture you feel when you hold it in the palm of your hand.

Taking the Huawei P series as an example, Huawei proposed the concept of flow design in the P40 series. The body adopts a four-curved display design, which not only provides a full visual look and feel, but also achieves a smooth transition of the grip.

When it came to the P50 series, the roundness came to the camera again. The rear camera combination of the Vientiane double-ring shape improved the recognition of the P50 series, and then it was moved to Huawei's first vertical folding screen mobile phone, the P50 Pocket.

As more and more new phones are released, you will find that the continuation of design between flagship new phones is becoming common in the mobile phone circle.

▲ Galaxy S22 on the left, Galaxy S21 on the right

Samsung’s Galaxy S22 series released this month maintains a similar four-sided equal-width screen and a spliced ​​camera module design to the previous generation. Samsung says this is to make the S22 look more recognizable on the basis of maintaining the design recognition of the S series. Sleek and simple.

Compared with the S series, the family design of the Note is more obvious. It has always been the Note's design philosophy to pack a larger screen as much as possible within an acceptable range. From the original Note to the Note 9, the large screen has been handed down from generation to generation.

When people's palms finally can't accommodate a larger screen, the Note changes from the pursuit to the pursuit of the largest screen ratio. The original round body becomes square, and the large screen fills the entire front as much as possible. The ultimate screen ratio The pursuit also coincides with the concept of "maximizing efficiency" represented by Note.

This is why, even if the S22 Ultra with S Pen is no longer named Note, Samsung fans will subconsciously define it as the sequel to Note – there are too many traces of Note family design on the S22 Ultra.

This kind of trace is difficult to be summarized as a fixed rule, it should be fluid and constantly evolving.

For example, vivo has applied a camera module design called "Yunjie" in the X50 series. The two-color design of the camera module weakens the visual heaviness of the lens module. Cloud Window", which balances the visual impact of the super-large camera module.

And this relationship between design inheritance and development is also reflected in the OPPO Find series.

From the Find X that achieves a true full screen to the Find X2 that pursues sensory integration, to the Find X3 and Find N that use the "crater" design to achieve a smooth transition of camera modules, OPPO's dedication to integrated natural aesthetics has always been implemented in the Find series. in the design.

How to downplay the increasingly prominent mobile phone camera has been a difficult problem for all mobile phone manufacturers.

In order for the Find X3 to achieve a seamless transition from the module to the back cover, OPPO designers divided the back panel of the phone into more than 2,000 individual points, fine-tuned each point individually, and finally molded it with high-precision hot-pressed glass. The technology realizes the design called "impossible curved surface" by OPPO, which enables Find X3 to achieve an integrated transition in both visual and tactile dimensions.

On the new Find X series phones announced by OPPO, the natural aesthetics that have been explored since the first generation of Find X have also been inherited. From the existing information, the hot-pressed glass of Find X3 is replaced by ceramic materials with better texture. The modernized family design has been further polished.

Where does family design come from?

A family-oriented design should be based on product functionality before it can deepen its emotional bond with consumers.

Paul Rand, a designer who has designed corporate logos for companies such as IBM, Westinghouse, and NeXT, mentioned in an interview that people see IBM's LOGO design thinking of computers, not because the blue and striped designs are based on computers. , but because of the success of the IBM computer itself, so that people remember its LOGO design. The purpose of design is not to correlate industry attributes, but to meet needs.

In the same way, product design that can endure should originate from a focus on functional requirements.

The reason why OPPO, Huawei, vivo and other mobile phone manufacturers are committed to creating a family-oriented design style is not only to create a clear brand recognition for users, but more importantly, to solve users' pain points and needs with the help of unified design, and convey a consistent brand concept. .

For example, the OPPO Find series uses the "fluid curve" design language to reduce the visual bulge of the camera with the crater surface module, and at the same time, the back cover of the fuselage is more close to the palm of the hand, which makes people feel more comfortable with the original cold electronic product of the mobile phone. Associations organically connected to the natural world.

As Leica Q designer Vincent Laine said, people's perception of brand and brand value is a subjective thing, but it can be clearly reflected in the design language. There is a very close connection between functional design and heritage. .

A common misconception among consumers about products is that product advancements must be tied to dramatic industrial design changes.

According to Tuong Nguyen, a research analyst at Gartner, smartphones have reached a new stage where consumers are more concerned about what their phones can do for people, rather than the design itself.

This does not mean that good industrial design is no longer important, on the contrary, Nguyen believes that when a smartphone has found a design that is recognized by most consumers, all it needs to do is to constantly adjust, improve and More careful polishing, and put more energy into functional services.

That is to say, when a brand begins to have a family-based design, it means that it has basically completed the exploration of the brand design philosophy, and the next thing to do is to keep improving on the basis and inject brand value into the design.

Stop talking nonsense.

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