Design Engineering

Made-in-Canada design heritage inhabits BlackBerry Passport


General DPN

The BlackBerry Passport is unlike any other smartphone on the market thanks to its innovative, wide, square design and revolutionary physical keyboard with touch-sensitive keys.

Its stainless steel frame structure, exposed on the edges, demonstrates both strength and durability.
The BlackBerry Passport is built for environments where responsiveness and secure communication are a necessity and no margin of error is acceptable. Examples include hospitals, where doctors need to view X-rays in real-time with patients to repair bone fractures and  finance, where traders need to instantly see fluctuations in the market to make a trade on-the-go.  
The BlackBerry Passport features a unique, made-in-Canada heritage.
The format was inspired by the familiarity and mobility of a passport, while the construction was inspired by the modern architecture of the Toronto-Dominion Centre in downtown Toronto. The architect, Mies van der Rohe celebrated structural elements in his work resulting in a straightforward, elegant and solid solution. BlackBerry’s Passport embodies a durable design that mirrors modern architecture, while delivering on easy functionality and powerful productivity geared toward executives and entrepreneurs.
Brian Paschke, industrial design lead at BlackBerry, says, ” Mies van der Rohe’s buildings in general were a huge inspiration for the Passport’s design. He used a method of exposing a building’s structure for visual lightness while expressing strength. One of our design workshops was held at a building right next to the TD towers in Toronto, which were designed by Van Der Rohe. For me the building represents a new future, a new way of thinking and a new model for construction.”
The BlackBerry Passport also uses the sans serif Slate font created by award-winning Canadian typeface designer Rod McDonald of Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Slate offers maximum character legibility without sacrificing style and can be read as easily on a printed page as on a smartphone screen. The design team has used the font on both the physical keyboard and onscreen in the same size, colour and grid for a seamless typing experience.
Some of the Canadian designers who had a hand in the BlackBerry Passport design include:
• Brian Paschke, Industrial Design Lead at BlackBerry and Emily Carr graduate is continuing a family tradition of craftsmanship (his family has a background as goldsmiths) in industrial design at BlackBerry.
• Joseph Hofer, Senior Industrial Designer with BlackBerry and a graduate of Humber’s School of Applied Technology. Like Brian, Joseph’s family has a tradition of craftsmanship – in Joseph’s case as woodworkers.
• Alison Phillips, Director of Industrial Design at BlackBerry. In addition to her  experience with BlackBerry’s award-winning design team, Alison’s background includes work with innovative Canadian retailers Caban and Aritzia.


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