We dont do retro is the personal blog of Matt Sinclair. It’s mainly concerned with mass customisation and rapid manufacturing, which are the areas I’m researching for my PhD at Loughborough University in the UK. But you’ll also find information about other subjects that interest me – lead user innovation, open source design and industrial design in general.
Most of the content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license. Basically this means you can do what you like with it as long as you credit me as the author of the original work, don’t claim I endorse what you do, and license your work in the same way (for more info click the Creative Commons logo at the bottom of this page). Any content which is licensed in a different way is clearly indicated.
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For more information about research at Loughborough please visit
About the author
After graduating from the Royal College of Art with a Masters Degree in Industrial Design Engineering, I joined Nokia Design in 1995. From an early stage I worked on products exclusively for the Japanese market, and it was here I first became interested in the idea of design for niche markets. Following a major research project studying youth trends in Japan, I worked with Seymour Powell on the DP 154X, which targeted urban youth culture (we also collaborated on a follow-up project which unfortunately never came to market).
Design: Seymour Powell, Matt Sinclair & William Yau. Image © Nokia
In early 1999, still interested in the role of products as lifestyle signifiers, I was appointed lead designer for Nokia’s upcoming fashion category model. The 7210 marked a radical new direction for Nokia, with a striking keymat design, front and rear user-changeable covers and a marketing approach which acknowledged this was a fashion accessory rather than a technology product.
Design: Tanja Finkbeiner & Matt Sinclair. Image © Nokia
Shortly after moving to Helsinki in 2001 I took the role of Category Design Specialist for Nokia’s Active category products, with responsibility for the category’s design language and future product strategy. It was in this role I began to implement strategies of expert user involvement in the design process, and whilst my interest in niche products continued I concentrated on applying this to products where performance was crucial to the consumer. The 5140i, with compass and integrated GPS covers, was the first manifestation of this strategy.
Design: Heikki Kangasmaa & Kati Björninen. Image © Nokia
At the end of 2003 I left Nokia to start my own consultancy, matt sinclair Design, which concentrates mainly in the field of consumer electronics. Based in Helsinki, my clients include Benefon, EADS, Nokia, Nordic ID and Siemens. Since starting my research I have also worked extensively with Ulysse Nardin to design the Chairman, a luxury mobile phone incorporating Swiss watchmaking quality. For more information please visit
Design: Matt Sinclair. Image © Ulysse Nardin