SBS tele­vi­sion recent­ly screened a doc­u­men­tary about Yves Behar, the per­son behind the dis­tinc­tive indus­tri­al design of the OLPC XO lap­top. It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing insight into the mind and influ­ences behind one of the most influ­en­tial design­ers around. The doc­u­men­tary was orig­i­nal­ly aired in Novem­ber 2008, so it is a lit­tle dat­ed. For exam­ple, Yves talks about the “XOXO” XO‑2, which has since been replaced with the XO‑3. Nev­er­the­less, it is well worth watch­ing.

You can view the full ver­sion at the SBS Web site. The sec­tion on OLPC starts at 14:48.

UPDATE: if you are hav­ing trou­ble view­ing the video, try this one instead. The atten­tion to detail and qual­i­ty is astound­ing. Yves right­ly points out that prod­ucts seen in less­er eco­nom­i­cal­ly devel­oped coun­tries are nor­mal­ly sec­ond hand or sec­ond rate. The design is rugged and func­tion­al. It pro­vides scope for per­son­al­i­sa­tion. What was most inter­est­ing to me is Yves’ com­men­tary on the key­board. Its one-piece design means that the let­ters can be print­ed in one silkscreen­ing process. This makes it fea­si­ble to trans­late into lan­guages that would be uneco­nom­i­cal with a stan­dard key­board design.

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