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AU News Story Behind the Design of the Honor 7
May 13, 2016

Story Behind the Design of the Honor 7

Design is a tool for exploring the unknown world. We embark on a long journey of classic design with an ever wider perspective.

                                                                                                       —From Honor’s design team

The honor 7 inherits the Huawei classic style.

At the initial stage of design, we set a goal of achieving perfection while keeping in line with the classic style.

A thing can be done in a simple or complex way. We did not succumb to easy and repetitive work in the design of the honor 7.

We came up with diverse concepts and tried many things during the design and mass production processes so we would not regret when the final product came out.

You don’t need to be a genius to be successful. We believe continuous striving brings improvements, and we do things in a simple way to achieve perfection.

With this “simple but perfect” pursuit, we made three major breakthroughs in the design of the honor 7.

  1. 1.Details made big differences.

In the design of a product, we achieve 80% effect with 50% effort. However, we need to double our effort or even more to achieve 10% to 15% improvement in the final product.

Not all think the extra effort is worthwhile for small improvements, but we believe it is the 10% effort that differentiates our products from others.

Many details of the honor 7 reflect our aspiration for perfection. Here are just a few examples:

Battery cover with a silky sand texture

During the design of the battery cover, we wanted to create a silky sand texture that feels like the touch of smooth pebbles with some coarseness braving the wash of seawater over time.

To achieve this unique feel, we set strict criteria for selecting the sandblasting media for the metal battery cover. Within three months, the designer tried almost all sandblasting materials available in the market, from iron ore pellets and glass beads to expensive ceramic beads, and tried different sandblasting pressures and speed combinations for nearly one hundred times.

We kept exploring until it felt right to the touch. The subtlety is not felt visually but is etched in the memory.

Power button with a refined look and comfortable touch

The power button is probably the most frequently used button of a smartphone. Our design goal is assigning a refined look and comfortable touch to the power button.

The general practice for achieving comfortable touch is elevating the button height to ensure the proper button stroke. You would hear a click sound when pressing the button. However, the increased button height may cause usage problems, such as falloff of the button cap and scratch of the raised part when taking the phone out of a pocket.

To address these problems, the designer did many comparisons and finally decided on the solution of adding a slight arc surface to the frame.

The arc surface ensures the proper button stroke without greatly increasing the button height. The machining of the arc surface realizes a streamlined effect and the precise pattern carved on the button surface brings better visual effects.

Unfortunately, the arc surface would cause a 5% reduction in process yield, amounting to a one-dollar cost increase for each unit and an extra investment of more than five million USD for a shipment of five million units.

This amount is enough to raise eyebrows in Huawei. During the decision making process, however, consensus was reached on the arc surface design when the real effect was presented. We would not make any compromise in user experience.

Camera circled with the CD patterns

The honor 7 is equipped with a super camera to deliver superior photo shooting experience and an imaging effect comparable to that of digital cameras.

Generally speaking, a camera has to be elevated above the phone body to provide such powerful functions. This design runs counter to the industry trend of making phone cameras flat on the surface.

The honor 7 camera is designed from a different perspective to bring brand new aesthetics.

To integrate powerful functions and stunning visual effects, the honor 7 camera is elevated above the rear surface, imparting the precision characteristics exclusive to high-end cameras.

It is also circled by the CD patterns to simulate the appearance of a digital camera. The effect is impressive.

Silk screen printing is the traditional method for creating the CD patterns and it achieves good luminous efficacy. However, the patterns are not very precise due to the 0.15 mm printing limit.

For the honor 7 camera, the pattern density is increased to 0.05 mm, which is not achieved even in clocks or watches.

A similar example is the weaving of linen and silk. Both fabrics are woven using warp and weft threads but they have quite different qualities due to the thickness of threads.

Our pursuit for details is also reflected in other aspects. The 14 consecutive sound holes at the bottom of the phone are formed through CNC spraying, which takes a longer processing time than that of common molding. This avoids accumulation of paints around the sound holes.

The metallic luster of the honor logo on the rear surface is achieved through precision stamping and CNC processing in sequence, instead of laser engraving that is widely adopted by other smartphone manufacturers. The processing time is increased from 1s to 12s.

Just imagine how a sculptor lingers on every detail in pursuit of a perfect piece of artwork.

  1. 2.The design elements are arranged in harmony like the rhythms of a song.

Just as a list of musical notes does not constitute a song, a smartphone with only refined details is far from being perfect.

These musical notes must be arranged in proper places to form a melody. Like song composition, design involves the proper arrangement of each element to achieve harmony and aesthetics. In the design of a handheld device, user convenience must not be neglected.

The honor 7 packs a 5.2-inch screen that delivers excellent experience for many apps and facilitates one-hand operations. A fingerprint layout is designed based on the golden ratio.

The center of the fingerprint layout corresponds to the beginning of the helix. The honor logo is located in the 0.618 golden section. In the rear view, the logo is aligned on the left with the center of the spacing between the volume up/down buttons and power button, and on the right with the smart key, a unique feature of the honor 7.

All elements are arranged based on the golden ratio to achieve visual harmony.

We set strict criteria for user convenience. The power button is totally within the reach of the thumb in one-hand operation mode, and the fingerprint sensor is easily reached by the index finger.

This well-balanced and comfortable layout is achieved through great effort of the designers and architecture engineers, who spent much time deliberating on every possible design scheme.

For example, the fingerprint sensor may be moved downward slightly to further facilitate touch by the index finger, and the location of the power button may be adjusted to be closer to the visual center. These and other similar adjustments occupy the space of component layout, reduce the effective area of the board, increase cost, or bring challenges to the hardware department.

Every possible design scheme was tried out on the honor 7 within a couple of months. The pursuit for perfect details was full of complexities, but we stuck to our high requirements and braved all difficulties to deliver the perfect artwork.

  1. 3.Breakthroughs are made in designing innovative accessories.

We design the honor 7 as a complete experience package, which also contains accessories such as the gift box, protective case, and headset.

We innovate the accessory design in the hope of optimizing user experience.

The first innovation is the design of a light lattice case with its front side in the form of a louver through which you can see the screen backlight, creating the effect of the horizontal slats of a real louver admitting light into a room.

Solid and dotted lines are used to create interaction between light and shadow to make information display more vivid and interesting.

We cooperated with the UI designers and software engineers to create multiple interesting graphic effects on the light lattice case.

The second innovation is the design of a package that improves user experience during the unpacking process and solves the resource waste problem caused by the use of paper gift boxes.

The design of the honor 7 is a relentless pursuit for refinement, user convenience, and innovation to an unprecedented high level.