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Jos Kirps's Popular Science and Technology Blog

The Designers of the first Mac and the NeXTcube

January 21, 2008

Frog design is a strategic-creative consultancy which has become famous with their design studies for Apple Computer, Inc, the NeXTcube and many other designs in the area of consumer electronics and computers.

German industrial designer Hartmut Esslinger founded frog design in 1969. They debuted as "Esslinger Design" in Mutlangen and Altensteig, Germany, several years before Apple was founded. One of their first customers in the late 1960s was the German TV manufacturer Wega, which was later acquired by Sony. The Wega partnership was taken over by Sony, and so Esslinger Design created the legendary Trinitron television set in 1975. Employees Andreas Haug and Georg Spreng became partners in 1977.

Shortly after they moved to Palo Alto, California, where they started working on the design of the Apple IIc. The company name was only changed to "frogdesign" in 1982. In the early 1980s frogdesign then created the famous Apple Macintosh design as well as many more designs for Apple (many of them were never released, such as the Apple phone), as well as the SUN SPARCstations in 1986 as well as the famous NeXTcube in 1987.

In 2000 "frogdesign" was changed to "frog design". Today the company has more than 325 employees worldwide and is maintaining design studios in the US, Germany, Italy and China. They are, however, no longer working for Apple (today Apple runs their own design center lead by Jonathan Iva, the creator of the Apple iMac).

Hartmut Esslinger said on September 4, 2013:

Sorry, but I just came across this website: Correct: I founded frog design in 1969 Incorrect: Andreas Haug and Georg Spreng became partners in 1977. Kindest regards Hartmut Esslinger

Jos Kirps said on September 4, 2013:

Hello Hartmut, thanks for the hint, I just updated the article!

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