In our Meet The Makers series, we’ve met a whole host of the Sony Mobile tech team who work on what’s going on inside our devices. Now, we thought it was about time we focused our attention on the wonderful creative team in charge of making the outside each handset look oh so good. This week, we chat to Art Director and colour guru, Kaoru Murai to find out the exact process that goes into deciding the perfect hue for you.
Tell us a little about your role at Sony Mobile?
I am in charge of the overall direction of CMF (colour, material, and finish) design for Sony Mobile products.
How do you and the team choose the colours for each handset? Can you run us through the process?
We start by creating a CMF concept based on the target user and then those in charge of product design examine what the colour possibilities might be. After that, members of the team discuss and debate before selecting the best option, but more often than not we give priority to the designer’s recommendation and go with the colours he or she has proposed.
Do you test them with consumers before they are released? If so, how?
Yes, we test them. We research preferences among the colour options we are considering in each market, and we use these findings as reference material when choosing colours.
Which colour is the most popular?
For recent models, blue has been popular (e.g., Forest Blue for Xperia XZ, Ice Blue for Xperia XZs, and Moonlit Blue for Xperia XZ1).
How have colour trends changed in smartphones over the last 15 years?
The smartphone market was initially dominated by achromatic tones like black and silver, but then we were one of the first to introduce pink and other chromatic colours that hadn’t been used before, changing colour trends for smartphones. From there, we developed the purple for which Xperia is now known. More recently, as the smartphone has become an increasingly integral part of people’s lives all over the world, we are trending toward calm, soothing tones that blend naturally with people’s lifestyles.
How does colour vary globally – do certain shades do better in certain countries?
With regard to neutral tones, silver is preferred in Europe, while consumers in Japan tend to like white.
What is the wildest colour you have tried to release a phone in?
That would be the chrome finish for the XZ Premium. That sort of mirror-like quality is now common in smartphone design, but at the time we developed that model, it was very unusual to give a smartphone a reflective quality. When we first created the chrome finish it felt really striking and bold as it had never been done before, but actually it fits in really well with everyday life as it blends into the space around us.
For more information on our smartphones, including all colours available, head to sonymobile.com