Nokia Colour and Material Design Strategy


Championing a material-led design approach and the key principles of reduction and simplicity, the Nokia Colour and Material Design Strategy has driven a new design language and created an impactful, character-rich brand identity that allows Nokia to stand out from the crowd. This approach has enabled Nokia to innovate through materials, bringing color distinctly back into a market that was historically black and gray. This consequent approach to product making builds on Nokia’s heritage of color, quality and mastery.

From the high end of smart devices to the lowest end of mobile phones, users can detect this new approach, which has created a distinct Nokia character across a family of products that provides a coherent brand experience across all aspects of design for the brand.

Driven by a passion for color and materials, and with a new-found brand focus, courage and confidence, the design team was able to define the right color and material design strategy for Nokia, helping to reposition the brand and bring to life the distinct Nokia character. This went hand-in-hand with defining the overall design principles and priorities: built better, reduction and simplicity, designing from the inside out, and being consequent with the approach and decision-making. 

Color has become a huge asset for the Nokia brand, not only in its physical presence but in how people feel about the brand and act as ambassadors for it. Through the process of building an expertise in color, the design team learned that people who buy into the distinct color approach drive advocacy more than people who still choose to buy the black design. Insight into behaviors like these helped strengthen the approach, trust and investment.

Material technology has significantly grown, with Nokia investing heavily in color and materials design. A material-technology-development pipeline was set up with several years of interest and full internal support. This allowed the team to set up progressive material-technology projects that enabled them to partner with external specialists and universities. In addition, a material-technology roadmap was built to inform the company’s technology and sourcing strategies. The internal creative material-technology team also expanded in order to remain a key industry leader in this field for many years to come.

From the start the strategy was intended to strengthen the brand identity and in-market presence to ensure that Nokia projects confidence and impact. It was imperative that the team worked across the portfolio to achieve these goals completely unhindered by the price point and the portfolio halo effect.


Designed by Nokia

Contact: Carita Porthan -