The Museum of Modern Art, in New York City, is one of my favorite cultural havens. Whenever I’m in the city I always try to plan a visit and recharge my art and design batteries. Artists such as, Matisse, Calder, Picasso, and Klee are all there for the viewing. Honestly, I don't think I have ever seen a bad Picasso. The design gallery is a very special place for me. There I can see the things that designers dream of. The objects that have broken through the ordinary and made a lasting statement. It always makes me proud to see the 701c “Butterfly “on display there. Fortunately for me, I’ll be at the MoMA today. I'll be there for an early celebration of the 20th anniversary of ThinkPad and the official launch of the X1 Carbon. I can't think of a better reason to make the trek to New York City.
The premier device for business, the X1 Carbon is the latest in a long line of milestone ThinkPads. It also happens to be the ThinkPad I’m carrying now. Although controversial to some, the island style X1 keyboard is truly the best I have ever experienced. For a person who travels a lot, there is no such thing as having a ThinkPad that is too thin or light. That story has been true for nearly 20 years. Thanks to advanced carbon-fiber construction, the X1 Carbon measures just a scant 18mm thin and weighs in at under 3 pounds. A far cry from the first ThinkPad I carried back in 1995. Every time I pull mine out of my backpack it surprises me with it’s build quality and simple design impression that immediately says ThinkPad. I'm proud to have been associated with the design and devleopment of this latest ThinkPad marvel.
The book has that unmistakable ThinkPad Style
I’ll be speaking to the event attendees about ThinkPad design and how it has evolved over the years. I think it’s a pretty unique story in a marketplace that is typically dominated by rapidly changing technology and fleeting design trends. Remember those popsicle colored laptops a certain company made a few years ago? They were a far cry from what I think people desire over the long haul.ThinkPad is an authentic original that stands for something. It’s become a timeless icon, or symbol, of ultimate portable computing and success. The classic status has been earned over time through inspired management and significant dedication to an ideal. I just wrote a for Fast Company on the topic of managing design classics, you can read it here. As part of the celebration event I’ll be presenting the guests with a short 34 page commemorative book that I wrote and designed about what it means to be a ThinkPad. Apty titled, ThinkPad Design: Spirit & Essence. I think it tells the story well. I’ve included the actual copy I wrote for the book’s introduction page here:
On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of ThinkPad’s introduction, I felt compelled to celebrate that achievement with a brief monograph about ThinkPad design. My intention was to illuminate core design ideals that capture the spirit and essence of what it means to be a ThinkPad. These ideals transcend time and have been instrumental in building ThinkPad brand and design equity.
I’m proud of what has been achieved and all of the incredibly talented designers, engineers and thinkers who have helped make this milestone possible. Special thanks to Tom Hardy, John Karidis, Arimasa Naitoh, Richard Sapper, Ted Selker, Tomoyuki Takahashi, and Kazuhiko Yamazaki for their inspiration, dedication and creative spirit.
Succinct text and powerful graphical images do the talking
Designing and writing the book was great fun and gave me a creative opportunity to reflect and document my thoughts about ThinkPad design. I’ve never really sat down and tried to do it until now. The book isn’t heavy on word quantity, but it makes the point with succinct copy and strongly related graphical content. The book is printed in three colors, black, grey and red on a high quality soft- white uncoated paper. I chose to have the book bound using a "French fold" to enhance the page turning experience and prevent image bleed-through. I think it adds a lot to the book giving it an appropriate design & artistic quality. After all, they will be seen at the MoMA! The book was printed in a fairly low volume production run, but I do have a few extra copies. If you’re interested in getting hold of one of these 20th anniversary keepsakes, post a brief story about your favorite ThinkPad here. I’ll read through them and send out a signed copy to the ones I like best. You need not be present to win. I think any devout ThinkPad fan would love to have a copy on their shelf. I’m looking forward to reading your ThinkPad stories and the event today.