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April 3, 2014

Designer talk: how the Nokia Lumia 630 and 635 were made

With their dual-layer shells and striking colour ways, the Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 have sent pulses racing since yesterday’s unveiling.


DANIELI spoke exclusively to the designers responsible for Lumia 630 and Lumia 635: Daniel Dhondt, lead Industrial Designer, and Colour and Materials Designer, Chia-En Lu.


Tell me about the design language for Lumia 630 and Lumia 635.

DD: Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 are based on the same Nokia design principles as all our products: pure, human and advanced. The design of these products is an evolution from our earlier products such as the Lumia 520 and Lumia 620 – we have designed a more expressive, affordable Lumia smartphone. The large screen and vibrant removable covers really boost the character further.

We’re always looking into the simplicity and innovation of components and elements, making devices cleaner, stronger, more durable and more expressive.

The screen and the body of both Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 really celebrates this.


You mentioned innovation. What’s innovative about Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 in terms of industrial design?

DD: For us, innovation is about pushing the boundaries in all aspects of the design process; whether in manufacturing techniques, material technology or interaction behaviors. We strive to deliver an experience that feels as progressive and unique as possible.

There are a couple of things but you have to bear in mind with regards to the broader context; we want to maintain the quality but also consider the cost. That’s a big exercise for mechanics and designers alike.

CEL: For the two-layer effect, we used a polycarbonate, 1k, inherent opaque colour for the inner shell and a translucent layer to frame the phone. The colours – black, white, orange, yellow and green – continue the Lumia feel but they’ve been refreshed and are new for this year. For example, we’re using high-saturation versions, which set it apart from the Lumia 620.


Is this a unique selling point for this device?

CEL: Definitely. I can’t think of a competitor with this kind of ‘edge glow’ effect or using these materials. It’s intentional, vibrant and, above all, says quality.

DD: It also has a laminated display, so the brightness is really good.


What influences did you draw upon when designing Lumia 630 and Lumia 635?

DD: We always want to keep building on the idea of simplicity, so we take influence from what we’ve done in the past. However, expressing the character of the phone is just as important. With these dual-layer covers we really managed that – the phones have a fantastic colour contrast.


What personalisation will people be able to do?

DD: A variety of different covers can be bought in different colours and then there are the accompanying accessories, such as the MD-12 speaker, which really compliments the Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 as it was built with the same design objectives:  compact and expressive.

CEL: The material structure is also the same, so you’ll see the same edge-glow effect on the speaker. They work really well together.



What takes the lead when designing new phones – the hardware or the UI?

DD: We can’t really put one over the other. The magic with the Windows Phone UI and Lumia smartphones in general is that they share the same principles from the beginning: reduction and simplification. Together they become more harmonious and thus amplify each other.

We’re looking at lower-cost devices, so you need to be a lot more creative with what’s available to you. We changed the interaction of the Windows keys, embedding them into the UI and making them part of the display, which has a much nicer effect when the device is off. When the device is on, the buttons disappear when you go into video mode. We’ve also been able to create a completely black surface without keys. We’re really proud of that.

In terms of designing the 4G/LTE Lumia 635, we made the device squarer, which helps to achieve better antenna performance. We also had to do a lot of miniaturisation here and there to fit everything in.



What are you most proud of with this design project?


DD: The combination of delivering a really well balanced, affordable phone that looks amazing.  Ultimately, we’ve delivered something that had improved on what went before it.

CEL: For me, it’s the dual-layer design that gives it real character, makes it punchier and gives it more life. We spent a lot of time finding the right colours and pigments for the outer shell to create the effect you see on the Lumia 630 and Lumia 635. I’m really proud of that.


What are your thoughts of the Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 design? Let us know below.