Updated April. 02, 2014 05:16
How state-of-the-art a smartphone technology is, people still tend to look at design when making a purchase. For this reason, manufacturers are obsessed in design even if it means heavier cost.
What is the design philosophy of Galaxy S5 released on March 27?
Chang Dong-hoon, executive vice president at Samsung Electronics and head of smartphone design strategy, said Galaxy S5`s concept incorporates "modern flash," or an urban style and youthful emotion.
The Dong-A Ilbo met Chang on Tuesday at Samsung Electronics headquarters building in southern Seoul. Chang said, "Galaxy S5 maintains consistency with previous Galaxy series, while differentiating in materials and color to realize modern flash."
Former professor of formative arts at Ewha Womans University, Chang joined Samsung Electronics in 2006. He was ranked second at Fast Company`s most creative people list last year.
Chang said, "Samsung Electronics surveys consumer trends every year and decides design concept based on the outcome. Galaxy S3 was released in 2012, at a time when the global economy was in downturn. We thus had our design concept be "Back to the human basic" and emphasized comfortable feeling.
According to him, as the global economy is in a recovery phase this year, Galaxy S5 applied drastic materials and color given consumers` desire to express their feelings. The phone`s back cover used a new material similar to sheepskin texture. Chang said, "The new material that feels like leather used in Galaxy Note 3 became somewhat like a symbol for Samsung products. We succeeded it while adding a cushion-like touch when grabbing the phone." The design team analyzed various materials used in luxury bags, clothes and watches to find materials that feel like sheepskin. After hundreds of tests, Samsung`s design team eventually found a material that had an embossing effect.
Given its past smartphones and tablets in basic colors of white, black and gold, Samsungs brand new Galaxy S5 is an extreme makeover to include "electric blue" coming from green topaz color.
Chang said, "We wanted to put out a third color that can lead the trend besides basic colors. Electric blue matches with all clothes and it is also one of my favorite color for the phone." He added that the color is also a trend in fashion industry this year. For further differentiation, Galaxy S5 introduced non-penetrable hole pattern on the back cover, different from previous S3 and S4.
Chang said, "For the past year, we examined every day hundreds of drafts of dots different in size and shape. We ultimately chose a design that people won`t be tired of and feels good touch in hand with less fingerprints on the device." Galaxy S5 is larger in width compared to S3 and S4, while flat compared with S3. The dotted pattern helps the phone not look so wide.
"The product must have been released after careful consideration, but there are pros and cons," the reporter said. Chang responded, "If we had released the product without much preparation, we would have been bothered by each single response. But we are proud of our the new series S5 since the outcome was based on various internal verification and criticism."
On whether Samsung Electronics will release products with more drastic designs as it had done with feature phones, Chang said, "Samsung Electronics is no longer a second or third tier company that bets on individual products. Brand identity is more important at this moment."
Chang said, "Unified concepts of the Galaxy series are comfortableness and trust," adding, "Wearable devices such as Gear 2 and Gear Fit also put priority on design consistency with Galaxy S5," implying that the devices were made to make people identify it`s a Samsung product.
A professor-turned businessman, Chang gave Galaxy S5 design an A grade.