Laptop designer, IDEO founder Moggridge dead at 69

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: September 10, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Design

PALO ALTO, CALIF. (Sept. 10, 4:45 p.m. ET) — Bill Moggridge, the industrial designer who designed the first laptop computer and was part of the movement to create tighter connections between the plastics and design industries, has died.

Moggridge was a co-founder of the global design group IDEO, based in Palo Alto, Calif. – a company that has worked with multiple plastics companies since it launched in 1991. He joined the Smithsonian Institution’s New York-based Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in 2010, helping it tell the story of design to a wider audience.

The 69-year-old died of cancer on Sept. 8, Cooper-Hewitt officials said.

In the late 1970s, Moggidge was hired by computer maker GRiD Systems Corp. to design the packaging for a portable computer. Moggridge created a clamshell shape, with a screen on one side and keyboard on the other – the first portable computer to look like today’s typical laptop.

“There are very few opportunities a designer has in his career to do something that is truly precedent setting,” Moggridge said in a video memorial posted by Cooper-Hewitt on its website.

Though the “lightweight” computer weighed in at about 10 pounds and cost more than $8,000 – and GRiD itself was later purchased by Tandy Corp. – it led to more work by Moggridge with computer makers to further develop computers using different materials and new ways of interacting with computers.

“When I had an actual prototype and I took it home, I was amazed that everything I’d done wasn’t interesting or important, and the thing that was really important was what was happening between me and the software behind the screen.”

When he cofounded IDEO with David Kelley and Mike Nutall, Moggridge expanded the idea of what a design firm could do by bringing in anthropologists, engineers and others who would look to how people used the final product.

IDEO General Manager Tom Kelley noted that those anthropologists studied the way children brushed their teeth, research that helped designers create a children’s toothbrush for Oral-B Laboratories with a “big, squishy” handle that was the best selling children’s toothbrush for more than a year.

Since its founding, the design group has worked with office furniture manufacturers, surgical equipment makers, sporting goods companies, home electronic giants and created a range of products sold worldwide.

About 10 years ago, Moggridge helped connect IDEO with Eastman Chemical Co. as the Kingsport, Tenn.-based resin maker was making its initial moves to reach out to the industrial design community.


Comments

Laptop designer, IDEO founder Moggridge dead at 69

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: September 10, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events