Project Rebirth: A New LG Mobile

My first smartphone was an LG G4, and I loved that thing. I chose the G4 over the then-recently launched Galaxy S6 because it was slightly cheaper, the camera was quite good, and (most importantly) I’m a contrarian mess. While the S6 would surely make it easier for me to find cases and skins to keep my phone feeling new, I was already bored with the glass slab form-factor it stamped into the Android market. My G4 opted for a stitched leather back, power and volume buttons running down the back beneath the camera, and a screen that subtly curved to reach my thumb struggling to reach the status bar. Within a couple of months, I was already drooling over the quirky V10 with its second screen stretching not quite the full width of the top of the phone. LG just did phones differently. After a few years of uninspired gimmicks, the Wing and Velvet felt like LG was getting back in touch with their experimental roots. Then they left the phone business completely.

I miss LG and the spice they brought to the Android landscape. I would have loved to see what a re-visiting of their software skin, GUX, would have looked like. In late 2020, I started working on two new projects: Art 2.0 (an evolution of my creator-focused concept phone brand) and Kuiper (a new, futuristic brand). My work on Art 2.0 provided the base for Kuiper, so it made sense to connect them somehow. As rumors swirled that LG was considering drastic changes to its presence in the Android market, it felt natural to pitch them as a dual-brand strategy to revitalize LG’s experimental phone design without the baggage the central brand carried. Since I made that shift, they left the market and I was too busy with life (senior project, internship, moving in with my partner, prepping for a cross-country move and grad school, my summer job) to get much done. I probably missed the optimal time to release this, but I love the work I’ve done. Now that I’m in Seattle and waiting for classes to start, it was time to get things together to publish.

A new LG

a new LG logo

LG’s current branding, in the phone space, carries a complicated set of connotations. From the highs of the G3 and G4 and lows of the G5 and G8X ThinQ, to the myriad of faceless budget phones churned out by the brand, LG’s old logo doesn’t carry a clear, consistent consumer relationship. To show this dual-brand strategy’s importance as a new step for the broader company, I designed a new logo for the mother brand. This new logo uses simple shapes, shadows, and composition to suggest the company’s name. This is LG without all the fluff: a new, focused approach to consumer tech.

Meet ART by LG

the ART logo

I originally released ART as a standalone brand in late spring 2020. The original idea was actually inspired by LG’s V line, with a heavy emphasis on software and hardware tools for online creators. I always felt like the V line’s market positioning (the creative niche) didn’t jive make itself visible in the rather bland hardware design. ART devices feel like blank canvases, waiting for creative expression. They have bold and artistic designs, emphasizing their role as tools in their users’ hands. ART’s design language was inspired by Mondrian, Dieter Rams, Teenage Engineering, and (of all references) the Nexbit Robin. Simple shapes, bold colors, and tactile interactions define ART.

Meet Kuiper by LG

the Kuiper logo

After spending hours in Cyberpunk 2077 and seeing all of the tie-ins and merch inspired by the genre, I wanted to form my own version of the iconic aesthetic. Kuiper is, as that description suggests, a gamer-focused brand. I aimed to add some neumorphic, physical flair to the hyper-efficient and minimal styles found in command prompts and on any device in sci-fi. In a world of cloud computing and game streaming, Kuiper devices feel like a slice of the realized future, like thin machines with impossible horsepower.

Stay tuned for more on ART and Kuiper

I can’t wait to show more than just logos, but it’ll take a minute to get everything presentation ready. Until then, check out my previous work on my portfolio site (along with some unpublished side projects).

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Jacob Estep

Jacob Estep

🟡⚪🟣⚫ (any and all pronouns) I’m a (so far) self taught aspiring product designer interested in operating systems and the devices they run on. WVWC CS ‘21