Having been the designer of the world’s first laptop computer and co-founding one of the world’s leading design firms, IDEO, Bill Moggridge’s life is as colorful as they come for those in the field of designing human experiences.

After having earned an industrial design degree in 1965 from the Central School of Art and Design in London, he hopped over to the states looking to find career opportunities and landed his first job at American Sterilizer Co. in Pennsylvania designing hospital equipment.

Just four years later Moggridge moved back to London and founded his first company, Moggridge Associates, in the top floor of his London home. The first product Moggridge developed that went into production was a toaster for Hoover UK. Just a few years later in 1972, he started getting heavily-involved with computers and software after working on a project for Computer Technology LTD.

Similar to another famous designer from London, Apple’s Jony Ive (who would come over decades later), Moggridge left London to work in Palo Alto, California with a focus on designing computers and digital experiences. Around this time, Apple was seeing sales surge of their Apple II computer and the Valley area would never be the same. That very same year, Moggridge designed the GRiD Compass for GRiD Systems and effectively introduced the concept that a computer could be carried around and placed on a lap…a laptop.

In 1991, Moggridge would launch IDEO with fellow designers David Kelley and Mike Nuttall, which is still considered to be one of the world’s leading design firms.

While Moggridge passed away in September of 2012 at the age of 69, his contributions to society are still just as prevalent as ever…especially in an age where screens are being carried on wrists and 3D projected interfaces are on the tip of the horizon.

Earlier this year, AIGA San Francisco hosted an event titled “Show and Tell: “Knowing Bill Moggridge” With Karin Moggridge & Mike Nuttall” where Karin (Bill’s wife) and Mike (co-founded IDEO with Bill) tell stories of what it was like to live and work with a guy who was so sensitive to technology and the human experience that he spent a lifetime trying to make it better.

Author

Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.