The BBC reported on the exchanges between Motorola’s president Rick Osterloh and Apple’s lead designer, Jonathan Ive, yesterday. In the spat, about Motorola’s ability to offer customisable mobile “design” (“Mr Osterloh {said} of the scheme: Our belief is that the end user should be directly involved in the process of designing products.”) Ive’s position is that this approach was tantamount to abdicating the “responsibility as {the} designer”.

But should businesses such as Apple’s, with a powerful design-driven ethos, really be concerned by the Motorola approach? After-all the Moto X handsets customisable option isn’t ‘design’. It’s ‘styling’ at best, decoration at worst. If you choose to skeuomorph your Moto X to look like a Fifties sideboard, what’s the problem? Only when a company proclaims this as some form of collaborative ‘design’ process. Which it really isn’t.

Design is about what happens on the inside and the outside. Businesses that embrace that are the ones that really have a “different philosophy“. That’s what the ‘i’ in design’s for.

Here’s the full story –

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About Richard Hill

Creative director, writer, designer, illustrator based in the UK with global project experience and consulting skills across sectors.

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Design, Just design!, Re-thinking, strategy