Bill Moggridge, the industrial designer who came up with the clamshell design for laptops, which has become the industry-standard over the past 30 years, has died aged 69 following a fight against cancer.
The Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, where Moggridge had been a director since 2010, confirmed his passing this weekend.
Moggridge was responsible for the design of the 1982 Grid Compass, a portable computer with keyboard and yellow-on-black display that retailed for £5,000.
What set the Grid Compass apart was its folded hinge, which allowed its screen to fold flat when being transported. It also featured a low-profile keyboard, and die-cast magnesium enclosure – features that would be copied and built upon endlessly by the burgeoning computer industry.
Moggridge came up with the design in 1979, when working with computer pioneer John Ellenby, who wanted to create a computer featuring an electronic display that would be small enough to carry around.
“When I had a working prototype and took it home, I was amazed that everything I'd done wasn't very interesting or important. And the thing that was really important was what was happening between me and the software behind the screen,” Moggridge said about his ground-breaking design.
He subsequently developed a keen interest in the nascent software industry, and set about demonstrating how good design principles could be applied to software, making products that were easy to use.
The Grid Compass design won Moggridge the prestigious Prince Phillip Designers Prize in 2010.
Moggridge is survived by his wife and two sons.
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