I awoke this morning to the news in my Facebook thread that Bill Moggridge, designer of the first laptop computer, had died. I had no idea he’d had cancer, and I was shocked. As always, the unexpected news is like being socked.
Bill Moggridge was legendary in the design world and a truly wonderful person, a man with a soft demeanor and a sweet English accent. With David Kelly, he co-founded Palo Alto based IDEO, which became the largest industrial design consultancy in the world. He was involved with the early design formation of the first mouse, although he cannot take initial credit for it. Since I am intimate with the design world, and have watched many products unfold to view the inside track on designers and the roles they play, he had a big hand in both the mouse and in the first laptop computer, GRID Compass.
Bill Moggridge started his office in London but relocated it here to the Bay Area in 1979 in time to engage the revolutionary changes in Silicon Valley. In 2009 he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by Michelle Obama at the National Design Awards. Shortly following this, he became the director of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in NYC. What was once a traditional parochial museum of decorative arts expanded its horizons to add “National Design Museum” to its name. It evolved to include a bandwidth of contemporary design. Bringing Bill Moggridge on board was that complete turning point.
Bill Morggridge was incredibly kind to me and will always be deeply remembered by the design community as a seminal figure. It seems like yesterday he was standing at IDEO in the sun on the grass with a glass of wine in his hand, smiling. I will always remember him that way.
He is survived by his wife Karin Moggridge and two sons Alex and Erik.
- Laptop Inventor Moggridge Dies At 69 (techweekeurope.co.uk)
- Read the New york Times obit on Bill Moggridge here.