“ Very aggressive” is how Johnstone describes the design schedule. They move quickly from a few rough sketches to a virtual 3-D model. AMOI and HWL take advantage of the time difference, working on a 24-hour cycle. “As we are finishing for the day, they are just arriving in the studio.” Communication is mostly visual, using the sketch-overlay method. Starting with hand sketches and moving into computer-aided design drawings, the companies exchange visual ideas by email. When verbiage is crucial, a liaison team from HWL in Hong Kong helps to eliminate any linguistic or cultural barriers. The teams have complementary skills. “They are more hard-core design and engineering,” Johnstone says of AMOI, “while we have a more industrial design take, evaluating the user interaction, look, and feel.” After this brief, intense phase and “very little sleep,” the phone comes together. The central feature is the Skype button, which enables users to see who is on their Skype network with a single tap and call them with a scroll and click. “It was very important to have a single idea,” says Johnstone. “We had to be brave about it.”
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.