Next up in our Design Space series we visited interface designer George Arriola at the San Francisco Sony Ericsson office. George was kind enough to draw back the curtain and permit a peek into one of the most secretive and innovative telecommunication industries — mobile phones. Come take a look with us. No NDA required!
The office is located in the SOMA district. Ten years ago this area was highly industrial, and you can see evidence of this by the exposed brick walls and wooden rafters. The view looks out over downtown San Francisco. And like all good urban work spaces, there’s a foyer station for bikes (below). I think I have office envy!
Sony Ericsson is a joint venture between the Japanese electronics company, Sony, and the Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson. Needless to say, beloved Japanese characters are a mainstay throughout the office. A giant stuffed Totoro outside the conference room appears the unofficial office mascot, and everything from Hello Kitty to Danbo can be found on all available surfaces. Even George’s kids have chipped in with a truly adorable drawing of Ponyo.
As is to be expected, George’s office is littered with devices and eye candy. He was kind enough to break out the secret suitcase (something I imagine he has handcuffed to his wrist on those transcontinental flights to Japan) and show us some of the goodies. While he was laying out the merch, I took note of even more anime characters while ogling his crazy Herman Miller Embody Chair.
And if you’re into geek speak, you can read about one of Sony Ericsson’s signature interface designs for the Timescape, one of its leading products. I was surprised to learn that UI design includes a standard graphic design component — typeface creation. SE actually crafts their own typefaces! In this case, SoMA™, which was “heavily influenced by Helvetica Neue and Whitney.” In fact, George is so fond of this font, he swapped out our Benton Sans for SoMA™ on the Q+A!
//// Innovative and Visually Consistent Brand Platform, UXP (User Experience Platform)
Leveraging design innovation based on the concept of “Human Curvature™ + Precision by Tension™” industrial design methodologies, focused around a “human-centric” design interaction language, UXP — or User Experience Platform — from Sony Ericsson delivers a visually consistent brand across devices and OS’s. UXP brand components consist of the original SoMA™ ultra-modern sans-serif typeface, Sony Ericsson / Sony U(x)nited visual “flow” environment, 3D icons, and uniquely original and distinct set of signature applications.
Timescape™’s unique experience fuses “infinite communication + expression + awareness” by harnessing the power of multiple cloud-based social network service streams, floating each touch point down in the form of a glass tile. Each represented glass tile stacks within Timescape’s “Spline™” offering deep socially aware, rich contextual metadata pivoting, with the simple touch of the “Infinite” button. Timescape’s delightful signature interaction experience enables “social visual snacking” leveraging the latest cutting edge OpenGLES graphics capabilities within the Android OS platform.
Please don’t kill us, George.