CMF Exploration

It was truly an exciting CMF era for the phone industry! Motorola G8 Plus project was budgeted for a construction that incorporated a layer of transparent plastic material and a UV-patterned film, carefully designed to simulate the look and feel of glass, at an affordable price. This paved the way for an array of design possibilities. For the Motorola G8 Plus alone, we dived into various creative avenues, experimenting with gradient colors, various UV patterns, and even iridescent films that produced a stunning play of colors when viewed from different angles.

In the end, the ultimate design was tailored to align with our intended consumer market. These explorations served a significant purpose in identifying the most suitable UV pattern and color gradient to achieve the premium quality of glass while using plastic material. Advanced research carried out alongside this project continued to influence products that were subsequently introduced in 2021.

Some of the CMF exploration trials

CMF Development

Motorola G8 Plus undertook a unique mission: developing multiple CMF manufacturing options in parallel. This project marked as one of our initial attempt at using PMMA in manufacturing. Given the potential risks associated with introducing relatively untested technology, we opted to pursue a parallel path of development with a more established process known as “IMT” (in-mold thermoforming). While these two manufacturing methods share the same fundamental principle and both employ transparent plastic materials, they can easily result in significant variations in coloration, pattern effects, and visual depth.

Navigating the challenge of coordinating with multiple suppliers, each with their own set of interests, added complexity to this undertaking. Through extensive testing, numerous trials, and iterative improvements, we successfully harnessed both PMMA and IMT manufacturing methods. As a result of these efforts, Motorola G8 Plus was released in these beautiful CMF’s without compromising the project’s integrity or risking misdelivery!

In-progress trial samples of PMMA vs. IMT methods

Consumer Research

Before the release of the Motorola G8 Plus in its stunning Cosmic Blue color, there was a twist in the tale. Originally, the Cosmic Blue variant featured a gradient transition from deep blue to a delicate, silvery hue. Given the popularity of dark and light neutrals in our industry, this color proposal seemed like a surefire winner.

However, a consumer survey opportunity arose with Motorola G8 Plus included as part of the research. We didn’t anticipate any significant deviations from our initial design concept. To our surprise, many participants expressed their reservations about the gradient transition to light silver. They felt it gave the impression that the phone had already been used, and the color was wearing off. This unexpected feedback underscored the vital role of qualitative insights gathered from consumer research. It serves as a reminder of the value of considering diverse perspectives in the design process.


Image credit: Nextpit
Image credit: XDA

Deliverable: From concept to launch
Industry: Consumer tech
Company: Motorola (a Lenovo company)
Team: Rina Shin, Taylor Yang, Jim Jin, Jiazan Xie
Year: 2019

Problem-solving ??? ?????. Former head of CMF at Motorola. A New York-based and world-traveling Design Consultant with over 13 years of specialty in CMF Design. 高雄囡仔,前摩托羅拉CMF設計團隊負責人,目前定居於紐約並遊牧世界,任自由撰稿人兼CMF設計顧問,持續投入在CMF設計的科普推廣,並為WGSN及羅技等公司提供CMF專案支持或諮詢服務。

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