If you were around (and old enough!) in the 1990s, you’ll undoubtedly remember when cellphones first started to become a part of our lives. The concept was undoubtedly revolutionary, but there was nothing remotely cool about the look of the good old ‘brick’ – it was bulky, ugly, and plain. Luckily, the brick is long gone and has been pushed aside for sleek, colourful and individual devices.
Individual expression as design
The journey of cellphone design enhancement has been a long one. The very first mainstream mobile phones were rather nondescript, as they were primarily used as business tools and were exorbitantly expensive. Because mobile devices were a new technology, design was not the primary consideration for mobile phones; in fact, it wasn’t considered at all.
However, as cellphones became more mainstream in the early 2000s, and the consumer audience for this product grew, aesthetic appeal became much more important. In the early days of the smartphone era, phone design was far less uniform, and each brand devised their own unique ‘look’. Users were also able to customise their phones to reflect their personality – phone colour, size, and shape variants all communicated something about the person who was holding the device. Consumers also expressed themselves through their choice of funky phone covers, colourful wallpapers, and distinctive ringtones.
Binging aesthetic appeal into mobile design
One of the smartphone designs that really caught the eye of design lovers all around the world was the flip phone Motorola RAZR. It was slim, sleek, and beautiful and came in a range of striking colours. Even its thin buttons were elegant. Unfortunately, it didn’t rate very highly in terms of technological advancement, but nevertheless became one of the top best-selling mobile phones of all time. This emphasised that users were demanding more of their cellphone aesthetics than ever before.
When the smartphone era really began to take off in 2007 and 2008, phones became ‘smart’ not only in their functionality but in their design too. Gone were the clunky keys of their predecessors; instead, they were replaced by ‘invisible’ keyboards, which only came to life when the user summoned them. As a result, their screens were larger, which not only made the phones easier to use but also highlighted a shift towards valuing the visual. The shape and size of the phones got even sleeker as technology progressed.
However, this technological advancement also brought with it uniform design, and these days it can be difficult to find something in a phone’s aesthetics that can uniquely distinguish it from its competitors.
Design that is truly unique
But one of the phone manufacturers that has increasingly delivered more in terms of device design is Huawei. This is especially evident in its P range, and specifically the Huawei P30 series. The designs and gradient colours of the Huawei P30 series are inspired by the radiant beauty of salt flats, which are large, flat grounds covered with salt and other minerals, common in deserts and well known for their blinding shine during the day.
The beauty of the golden morning sun is transposed into the Huawei P30 series through the Amber Sunrise variant, while Breathing Crystal reflects the time when sun is high in the sky and the salt flats extend all the way into the wild. When darkness envelops our country, the salt flats reflect the glimmers of stars, inspiring the creation of Black and Aurora.
Another significant element of the design is the two panes of double-curved glass on the device, which form an invisible barrier that extends to the mid-frame, creating a slim look with a comfortable grip.
The Huawei P30 Pro also features a new generation of FullView display that supports a resolution of up to 2340×1080, so that everything on every corner of the screen is filled to the brim with detail.
It’s clear, then, that mobile phone design has come a long way since the era of the bulky, black brick. Form is now every bit as important as function, and the two need to complement one another to ensure an even better smartphone experience. This design evolution is a promise of appealing aesthetics on the horizon, and the launch of Huawei’s new flagship device next month may well reveal a new step in the design journey.