Tom Hardy (designer)

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Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy (born 1946) is an American design strategist and former corporate head of the IBM Design Program. He is currently an independent consultant and Professor of Design Management at Savannah College of Art and Design.


Tom Hardy was educated in industrial design at Auburn University (1964–1970) [1] under Eva Pfeil (German) and Walter Schaer (Swiss), former students at the Ulm School of Design in Germany.[2][3] During his graduate work in the School of History and Sociology at Georgia Institute of Technology (1995-1996), he consulted with Georgia Tech to create CoLab, a unique multi-disciplinary innovation laboratory that integrated engineering, marketing and industrial design for industry-sponsored projects.[4][5]


IBM Industrial Designer[edit]

Early in his career, Hardy was the industrial designer of numerous award-winning IBM products,[6][7][8][9][10][11] including the original IBM Personal Computer introduced in 1981.[12][13][14] During the 1970s, he also designed advanced industrial design concepts for 'single user computers' during the infancy of personal computing.[14] His work included a design model in 1973 [14] to complement the IBM engineering prototype of SCAMP, dubbed by PC Magazine as "the world's first personal computer".[15][16]

IBM Design Program and ThinkPad[edit]

As corporate head of the IBM Design Program,[17][18] Hardy directed worldwide identity operations in concert with notable designers Paul Rand [19] and Richard Sapper [20][21] As cited in numerous publications, he played a key role in development of the first IBM ThinkPad notebook computer (1992) [22][23][24][25][26][27][28] together with a new differentiated product personality strategy which focused on providing more unique character to help revitalize IBM's brand image in the 1990s.[23][27][28][29][30][31]

Design Strategist[edit]

Later an independent consultant, his work with Samsung Electronics [32] involved integrating a comprehensive design management system and strategy into the corporate culture.[33][34] These elements have been cited in business publications as strategic assets that helped elevate the company's global brand image and brand equity value.[33][35][36][37][38][39]


Hardy has lectured at international venues and currently serves as Professor of Design Management and Graduate Coordinator at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).[40][41]

Contributions and Recognition[edit]


In 1992, Hardy was invited by the U.S. Presidential transition team to participate as a member of President Bill Clinton's Roundtable on Design.[42] The purpose of the event was to create ideas on how design can contribute to America's competitiveness, sustainability and inclusiveness.[43] Following the Roundtable on Design, he was selected to testify before the 103rd Congressional Committee on Science, Space and Technology as to the importance of design in commercialization of technologies and U.S. competitiveness.[44] Hardy also participated in another government design initiative in 1993 as Chair of a National Endowment for the Arts' Design Program working group to propose a White House Council on Design.[45] And in 2000 he was appointed to the Presidential Design Awards Jury for Federal Design Achievement in Graphic Design and Industrial/Product Design [46]

Products and Management[edit]

Awards for Hardy's industrial design of IBM products include: Industrial Designers Society of America Gold IDEA - 1980, The Premio Smau Award - 1977 (Italy), iF Product Design Award - 1983 (Germany) and four I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review Awards - 1977, 1981, 1982, 1983. He holds several design patents and his work is on permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC).[6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

The 2007 anniversary issue of PC Magazine highlighted Hardy's innovative management leadership role in the original IBM ThinkPad development process and deemed him 'Innovator of the Year 1992'.[25] Most recently, two products directly influenced by Hardy during his IBM career were selected in 2016 by Time Magazine as being among "The 50 Most Influential Gadgets of All Time". They are: (#5) the first IBM Personal Computer 5150 and (#21) the iconic IBM ThinkPad 700C. The 50 products were cited by Time as "The tech that forever changed the way we live, work and play".[47]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Student Designers Present New Concepts for Ocean Hardware and Systems", Armco Steel Corporation, Middletown, OH, 1969, pp.7, 8, 11
  2. ^ Lindinger, H., (1991), Ulm Design: The Morality of Objects, Cambridge: The MIT Press, p.133
  3. ^ Spitz, R. (2002) The Ulm School of Design: A View Behind the Foreground, Fellbach: Edition Axel Menges, pp.140, 146, 201, 207, 211-12, 431-2, 438, 441, 453
  4. ^ Bullock, W., (2012) Sustaining Sustainable Design Innovation, IDSA Education Symposium, Boston, p.6
  5. ^ Bullock, W., Reeder, K., Thomas, J., (2014) PIRL: Innovation and Research - Opportunities for Interactive Education , IDSA Education Symposium, Austin, p.7
  6. ^ a b International Information Technology Exhibition: SMAU, (Italy) Industrial Design Award: IBM 5230 Data Collection System/Series 1, 1977. Pizzi, M., Grilli, N., (1998) Thirty Years of SMAU Industrial Design Award, Milano: Amilcare Pizziart grafiche S.p.A., p.28
  7. ^ a b Annual Design Review,I.D. Magazine, Product design award: IBM 5230 Data Collection System/Series 1, 1977, p.110
  8. ^ a b Industrial Design Excellence - Gold IDEA. Industrial Designers Society of America, Product design award: IBM 5120 Computing System, 1980, p.3
  9. ^ a b 27th Annual Design Review.I.D. Magazine, Product design award: IBM 5120 Computing System/Series 1, 1981, pp.44-5
  10. ^ a b 29th Annual Design Review.I.D. Magazine, Product design award: IBM System 23-Adjustability Model, 1983, p.37
  11. ^ a b iF, Die Gute Industrieform. Hannover Messe (Germany), Product design award: IBM System 23-Adjustability Model, 1983, p.98
  12. ^ a b 28th Annual Design Review, I.D. Magazine, Designers' Choice: IBM Personal Computer, 1982, p.37
  13. ^ Markis S., ″A 25-Year Trip on the Silicon Highway″ [1], The Edmonton Journal, August 26, 2006.
  14. ^ a b c Atkinson, P, (2013) DELETE: A Design History of Computer Vapourware[2] [3][4][5], London: Bloomsbury Publishing, pp. 62-3, 66-8, 70, 73-4, 76-9, 86-8, 90-1, 138, 140
  15. ^ Friedl, Paul J., "SCAMP: The Missing Link in the PCs Past", PC Magazine, PC 2, No. 6, November, 1983, pp.190-7
  16. ^ SCAMP (Special Computer APL Machine Portable), a prototype name for an IBM advanced microcomputer made in 1973 [6][7]
  17. ^ Aldersey-Williams, H., (1992) World Design: Nationalism and Globalism in Design, New York: Rizzoli, pp.155, 170, 172
  18. ^ Nussbaum, B., ″Hot Products: Smart Design is the Common Thread″, [8]Business Week, June 7, 1993, pp.5, 6
  19. ^ Heller, S., (1999) Paul Rand, London: Phaidon Press, Limited, pp.149-50, 158
  20. ^ Brandes, U., (1993), Richard Sapper:Tools for Life, Göttingen: Steidl Verlag, pp.145-6
  21. ^ Olivares, J., (2016) Richard Sapper, London: Phaidon Press, Limited, p.77
  22. ^ Swaby, R., (2011) Behind the Desogn of the Greatest Windows Laptop EVAHHHHH[9]
  23. ^ a b Sakakibara, K., “IBM ThinkPad 700C Notebook Computer Case″, Centre for Design Management - London Business School, 1994, pp.25-9, 30-9, 40
  24. ^ Dell, D.; Purdy, G., (1999) ThinkPad: A Different Shade of Blue, Indianapolis: Sams/Mcmillan, pp.10, 80-1, 125, 171-5, 180-2, 187, 457, 469, 496
  25. ^ a b Metz, C., ″25 Years of PC Magazine: Year Eleven/1992″, [10]PC Magazine, May 2, 2007, p.48
  26. ^ Hamm, Steve, (2008) The Race for Perfect: Inside the Quest to Design the Ultimate Portable Computer, New York: McGraw Hill, pp.73-4, 77, 81, 99
  27. ^ a b Bruce, M.; Jennaker, B., (1998) Management of Strategic Alliances, Sakakibara, K., New York: John Wiley & Sons, Chapter 4.
  28. ^ a b Golden, P., ″Big Blue's Big Adventure. Part 1″ [11],
  29. ^ Hardy, T., “Rebuilding Trust: Design Saves the Brand″, [12]Innovation, Summer 1998, pp.39-43
  30. ^ Hardy, T., “Innovation & Chaos”, [13]Design Management Journal, Summer 1994, pp.35-9
  31. ^ Trelstad, J., ″Code Name: Leapfrog″,I.D Magazine, May–June, 1993, pp.70-3
  32. ^ Chung, K.; Hardy, T.; So, S., ″Strategic Realization″ [14], Design Management Journal, Winter 2000, pp.65-9
  33. ^ a b Nussbaum, B., “The Hungriest Tiger”, Business Week, June 2, 1997, p.99
  34. ^ Delaney, M.; Hardy, T.; McFarland, J.; Yoon, G., ″Global Localization″, Innovation, Summer 2002, pp.46-9
  35. ^ Bremmer, B.; Ihlwan, M., ″Cool Korea″ [15], Business Week, June 10, 2002, p.5
  36. ^ Krishnan, R.; Kumar, K., ″Capturing Value in Global Markets: The Case of Samsung Electronics″,[16] SCMS Journal of Indian Management - Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, October - December, 2005, pp.67-8
  37. ^ Chung, K.; Freeze, K., “Design Strategy at Samsung Electronics: Becoming a Top-Tier Company″, [17]Design Management Institute Case Study - Harvard Business School Publishing, 2008, p.8
  38. ^ Farhoomad, A., Vishwanath, D., “Samsung Electronics: Innovation and Design Strategy“, Asia Case Study Research Centre, University of Hong Kong, 2009, pp.6, 16
  39. ^ Bhoir, N, Dutta, S., Kundu, K., Lodh, D., Pramanick, P.,“Samsung Electronics: Success by Design“, Kohinoor Business School: Mumbai, 2008, p.5
  40. ^ "SCAD Design Management Faculty". 
  41. ^ Catalog, Savannah College of Art and Design, 2015-2016. Programs of Study: School of Design, Design Management Program: Faculty, pp.100-03
  42. ^ Brown, P., "Political Design? Well, Yes.", [18] The New York Times, December 10, 1992.
  43. ^ Perlman, C.; Sorkin, M.; Woodward, S., ″Dear Mr. President: Answering Clinton's Call for a Design Strategy in America″, I.D. Magazine, March - April, 1993, p.2
  44. ^ ″Establishment of a Design Council in the Department of Commerce″, Hearing Before the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, U.S House of Representatives: 103rd Congress, Second Session. June 21, 1994, pp.184-8
  45. ^ "A Proposal for a White House Council on Design: A Strategy to Harness the Power of Design", [19] National Endowment for the Arts Design Program, June 1994, pp.8, 9, 24
  46. ^ "Presidential Design Awards 2000" [20] by General Services Administration and National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, D.C., 2000, p.31
  47. ^ Eadicicco, L, Fitzpatrick, A., Howorth, C., Luckerson, V., Peckham, M., Pullen, J. P., Raab, J., Vella. M. ″The 50 Most Influential Gadgets of All Time″ [21]Time, May 3, 2016.

External links[edit]