In Memoriam: Bill Moggridge

In Memoriam: Bill Moggridge

By Dwell
We are sorry to report that Bill Moggridge, director of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, passed away this weekend. Dwell mourns the passing of a good friend, an excellent thinker and leader, and a man who through his many accomplishments championed a better world through good design.

"Our intuition, our ability to feel, our ability to understand without being able to explain. All of those things are relatively subjective in subconscious. And what design does is to harness those attributes in the process."

The Grid Compass, the first laptop, was designed by Moggridge in 1979, and came onto the market three years later. The computer featured a die-cast clamshell case of magnesium alloy, an Intel 8086 processor, a 320 × 240-pixel electroluminescent display, 340-kilobyte magnetic bubble memory, and a 1,200 bit/s modem.

Bill was a Royal Designer for Industry, a 2010 winner of the Prince Philip Designers Prize, and a 2009 winner of Cooper-Hewitt’s National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement. He described his career as having three phases: first, as a designer; second, as a leader of design teams and; third, as a communicator. For the two decades he spent as a designer, Bill developed high-tech products for clients in ten countries. It was during this phase, in 1982, that he designed the GRiD Compass, which is also known as the first laptop computer (below). When Bill co-founded IDEO in 1991, with David Kelley and Mike Nuttall, he built client relationships with multinational companies and turned his focus to developing best practices for interdisciplinary teams. Beginning in 2000, he began actively promoting his views on the importance of design in everyday life through writing books, producing videos, giving presentations, and teaching. When he came to Cooper-Hewitt, the Museum was able to support his outreach through the historical depth and contemporary reach of its collections and initiatives.

A graduate of the Central School of Design in London, Bill’s professional activities included those of advisor to the British government on design education (1974), trustee of the Design Museum in London (1992-1995), visiting professor in interaction design at the Royal College of Art in London (1993), and member of the Steering Committee for the Interaction Design Institute in Ivrea, Italy (2003). He was the author of Designing Media (2010), which examines the connections between traditional media and the emerging digital realm, and Designing Interactions (2006), which explores how interaction design transforms daily life.

Portrait courtesy IDEO.

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Karin, and two sons, Alex

Read more about Bill's work at the Cooper-Hewitt

Listen to Bill discussing the GRID compass, the 20-year arch of technology, and the meaning of human-centered design.


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