Aaron moss knows a thing or two about mobile phones. He joined Nokia fresh out of Northumbria University and has worked on numerous handsets since then. The mobile phone was not his first love, however. His original dream was to become a car designer, something university put paid to. ‘I realised that it’s very rare for a car designer to design a whole concept, whereas product design allowed me to be creative with the entire product experience,’ he explains.
Mobile phones, as products integral to many people’s lives, suited that urge, and Nokia was the perfect fit. ‘[At Nokia], we look at what a person’s habits are and what their approach to life is,’ says Moss. ‘We pride ourselves on trying to understand consumer needs and designing the appropriate phone for them.’ Every year requires a fresh look at that consumer, and Moss spends a lot of time researching what is appropriate for the design.
Moss also pays a lot of attention to the aesthetics. ‘I always focus on every little detail of the phone,’ he says. ‘[Design is] not just looking at whether the product is suitable for the consumer, but asking “Does it have an appeal? Will people say they want this product?”.’
With the last handset he designed, the Nokia 6300, Moss was keen to get metal back into phones. One main concern is always to achieve a refined design, he adds. ‘Every little detail is like a jewel,’ he explains. ‘Everything has its place. It’s very well balanced.’
The Nokia 6300 was hugely successful in Europe, the consistent bestseller for the past year, which is no mean feat in the constantly shifting mobile phone market. However, not every product has to be a commercial success. ‘There are features that come and go within the mobile market,’ says Moss. ‘It’s recognising what those trends are and focusing products towards that trend.’ At the moment, one trend is navigation, which means designers have to devise ways of showing that a device is capable of GPS – it could be as simple as adding a logo, says Moss.
So strong is his enthusiasm for his work that it is difficult to imagine what would entice Moss away from Nokia: only the opportunity to reinvent the wheel will do. ‘If you look at Dyson – it changed the [vacuum cleaner] market over night,’ says Moss. ‘It would be nice to see some of that in other product areas. I’m very happy and passionate about what I do, but if I did leave, it would be to help re-look at what a product is, how it works and how it is used.’