If you designed the original laptop computer, you’d deserve a design award. If you co-founded IDEO, one of the world’s foremost design innovation firms, you’d definitely deserve one. If you’d done both of those things, plus acted as director of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, you’d be Bill Moggridge. And you’d be getting one of the most prestigious design awards in the world (and Britain’s oldest): The Prince Philip Designers Prize.
Here’s a short video made by the UK Design Council, which introduces Moggridge and the other prize nominees:
Moggridge “has been central to how design makes technology make sense to the people who use it,” says the Council. One of his most legendary contributions to industrial technology design is the GRiD Systems portable Compass computer — the world’s first laptop.
Moggridge pioneered the features that still dominate laptop design today: the clamshell hinged shape, the flat graphical display, the low-profile keyboard, even a modem connection. And the Compass’s die-cast magnesium enclosure made it rugged enough to travel on the Space Shuttle:
But the true genius of the Compass came from Moggridge’s legendary fascination with interface design and user interaction. He co-founded IDEO in 1991 as a consultancy that would prioritize those aspects of product design for their clients. According to the Design Council, Moggridge essentially invented the discipline of interaction design.
Nowadays Moggridge educates everyday folks about design as director of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York. The Prince Philip Design Prize, awarded annually, recognizes a “lifetime contribution to design”–and few designers embody that ideal better than Moggridge.