Mark Coop talks tech

Style Week on Pocket-lint would, of course, be nothing at all if we didn’t ask the opinions of those who really know what style is all about. So, as part of our five days of fun, we got hold of top UK-based designers to talk to us about what they see in their gadgets and what they're after when searching to buy some great looking technology.

So far, we’ve heard from Orla Kiely, Fred Butler, Eley Kishimoto, Roksanda Ilnicic and Stighlorgan but our final Q&A for Style Week is with Mark Coop. Mark is the man behind the phrase that’s caused just as much of a stir on the shelves as it has in the courts and online, but has recently been granted a registered trademark to be the owner of the only legitimate company to sell a certain line of products branded with that slogan.

With everything from bags, cufflinks, mugs and books to plasters and postcards, you can find Keep Calm and Carry On goods in shops like John Lewis, Heals and Debenhams as well as the official online store.

We took a minute of Mark’s time to find out his views on how gadgets ought to look and feel.

1.What, for you, makes a beautiful gadget or piece of consumer technology?

The design and the aesthetic do it; what Apple has brought to the table and stuck to right down to the packaging. You can now put an iMac or something similar in your lounge and it really doesn’t look out of place. They’re things of beauty but there’s also a functional beauty. It’s about when things just work. When they’re straight forward and they do what they say on the tin. And when it’s all complete right down to the packaging.

2. Are there any common errors that you see tech companies making when designing the look and feel of their products?

I’ve used Android and the older Windows phone software. Admittedly, I was new to it but I found it really complicated and I think that came down to the design and lay out of the interface. It was a good example, for me, of how things can get over-complicated sometimes in technology design. If manufacturers can make it as simple and straight forward as possible, I think your users can just get so much more done. The iPod was one of the things that kickstarted all of that. It was just click forward here and back there and you’re playing music. Even your mum could do it.

3. Form or function? Both are important but which has the edge for you when choosing your phones, laptops, etc and why?

Function. Design plays a big part but it needs to work for you and that’s the bottom line. You need to get done, what you need to get done and without getting wound up. I haven’t tried out Siri yet on the iPhone 4S but, if it works, I think that’s the kind of function that could make all the difference.

4. Phones, cameras and laptops have all got smaller, bigger, fatter and thinner over the years. What do you think the next trends in their style and design might be?

I liked the idea of a virtual keyboard in products projected onto any flat surface. We’ve seen things like this in the past but I think something like that could turn up in mobile phones for real and make text entry so much easier.

5. Name the five most beautiful pieces of consumer electronics of all time in your opinion?

The push button phone, iPod, Sony Bravia Monolithic TV, Roberts Revival Radio, Anglepoise lamp.

Head over to the Keep Calm and Carry On online store for a wealth of Christmas gift idea.

You can read more from Style Week on our Style Week homepage

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