Size-wise, there’s a world of difference between a car and a mobile phone. But when it comes to design, they should be much closer together than they currently are.

That’s the view of former Hyundai designer Jeanne Marell, now head of design for colours, materials and decorations at mobile phone maker Nokia.

Marell worked for Hyundai on concept cars and the just-launched i30 compact hatchback and believes vehicle designers could learn a lot from their mobile phone counterparts.

“The way Nokia approaches design is quite different to when I was with Hyundai. We are taking a more human approach which I think is missing from automotive. Currently it doesn’t get inspiration from people and how they live their lives,” she said.

Marell used a special edition version of the Nokia 8800 as an example. It was 18-carat gold-plated with unique ring tones, and aimed at the premium customer who wants the functionality of a phone but with the style of a piece of jewellery.

“In the car industry people are still using demographics to design. But it’s not about creating a first car for 20-somethings in western Europe.

“It’s not about where they live or what budget they have. It’s about their aspirations; designers need to find out what they want to use the car for – is it a mode of transport or something they want to show off? And work from that.”