Galaxy S4 Design Video: Contradictory Nonsense?

Samsung Tomorrow just released this short about the Galaxy S4 design story. It’s looks very nice – we are treated some lovely time-lapse videos, some flattering shots of people looking at phones and what might look like an insight into Samsung’s product design choices. The only thing is, once you look past all the distracting time-lapses and jargon… it’s just a video full of juxtaposed conflicted opinions. The more attention you pay, the more ridiculous it gets!



The design is “Not a radical difference, but more of an evolution” says product designer Hyoungshin Park in the first five seconds of the video. Immediately afterwards, we are rhetorically told by designer JongBo Jung (another product designer) that the Galaxy S4 is “Like nothing you’ve ever seen before”.

At least for the Galaxy S3 “Inspired by nature” launch they went all out on the nature thing, talking endlessly and tautologically about flowing water, pebbles and blades of grass bending in the wind… I mean, at least they were consistent!

In the Galaxy S4 video, we are told in no uncertain terms by Hyoungshin that, whereas the Galaxy S3 was inspired by nature, the Galaxy S4 “Form factor was designed with a more rational approach” (does that mean that the Galaxy S3 design was irrational?!) and the “CMF [colour, material and finish] was created with more emotional elements in mind”. Then JongBo tells us how they were inspired by nature for the “Black Mist” finish – wanting it to look like “countless stars sparkling in the night sky” or “a precious stone glittering in the sky”.

Perhaps it also looks like a disco-ball? Or a block of flats at night? Or… I don’t know… a black piece of paper with holes in it? How far can you go!?

We have a picture of a device’s design which is not simultaneously an evolution of a previous design, whilst simultaneously being something we’ve never seen before… something which was both inspired, and not inspired by nature and is more of a rational design than the Galaxy S3.

Don’t get me wrong – I think the design of the Galaxy S4 is good. Everyone has their own opinion, but it’s hard to call the Galaxy S4 an ugly device. I can’t help but think, however, that it would be more interesting to see some of Samsung’s actual design processes rather than pumped up, quasi-inspirational and elusively contradictory nonsense.

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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