Samsung’s mobile-design director, Dong-Hoon Chang, believes nearly anything can inspire product design. He and his team observe trends in fashion, car design, interior decorating or sometimes, whatever’s immediately outside the window.
While on a trip to the Marina Bay Sands resort, one of his designers became so enamored of the view of the Singapore skyline and water that he later incorporated a water-like ripple effect into the Galaxy S III’s touchscreen. Other sources of inspiration include Salvador Dali, hot air balloon rides in Africa and trips to Cambodia and Helsinki.
The team’s globe-trotting inspired Mr. Chang to design the S II like a pebble. (The man leaves no stone unturned when it comes to design.) Mr. Chang’s emphasis on the aesthetic quality of Samsung’s mobile devices stems from his arts-based education; he’s has an MFA in multimedia from the Chicago Art Institute and an MFA in applied art from Seoul National University. Coupling his design expertise with the company’s aggressive advertising campaigns has accomplished what was previously unthinkable: challenging Apple in the smartphone market.