Windows Phone designer is named one of country’s most creative
The June issue of Fast Company carries the magazine’s latest picks for its annual 100 Most Creative People in Business, which celebrates “innovators who dare to think differently.” This year one of our own made the coveted list: Windows Phone designer Jeff Fong. Check out his write up.
Fong, 43, joined the Windows Phone design team three years ago and has been one of the leading thinkers behind Windows Phone’s signature look and the set of design principals underlying it known as “Metro”.
Trained as an illustrator at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., Fong says he always had an interest in combining traditional media with technology. In 1993 he won an internship at Microsoft and was assigned to work on two of the company’s early multimedia efforts aimed at kids—Creative Writer and Fine Artist. He hasn’t looked back since.
Over the years Fong has worked on everything from an interactive gardening guide to Windows Media Center and the Zune music player, two other Microsoft products often praised for their fresh and distinctive designs. After the company made the decision to reboot its smartphone effort, Fong was tapped to help lead a team to define the look and feel of what would become Windows Phone, turning to airport and subway signage as one source of inspiration.
I caught up with Fong last week for a quick Q&A on Windows Phone and design.
The design of Windows Phone—and its influence on other high-profile Microsoft products like Windows 8—has been getting a lot of attention lately, including stories in Bloomberg Businessweek and the New York Times. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak also recently gushed about his “beautiful” new Windows Phone. Some folks seem genuinely surprised that Microsoft could design something like this. Are you?
A lot of people come with preconceived notions about Microsoft. There’s always been good design here. But I think the stuff that we’ve done previously has been mostly expected. The thing we did with Windows Phone is we came out with a design that is unexpected. It’s not like anything else you see out there. That change in direction is th