Design strategist Tom Hardy was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1946. He attended Auburn University, earning his Bachelor of Industrial Design degree in 1970. Tom started his career as an industrial designer at IBM and in 1989 became corporate head of the IBM Design Program. Now retired from IBM, he operates a brand-design strategy consultancy based in Atlanta, Georgia. Tom's early work for International Business Machines (IBM) included main-frame computers, printers, data entry terminals and office system products. During the early 1970s Tom was also given the task of researching the emerging area of personal computers and developed a number of concepts using advanced technology.After IBM decided to develop their personal computer using off-the-shelf rather than advanced technology, Tom designed the original IBM PC processor unit and keyboard that were introduced in 1981. His work as an IBM industrial designer won numerous awards including: Industrial Designers Society of America Gold IDEA, The Premio Smau Award (Italy), iF Product Design Award (Germany) and I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review. After serving as Design Center Manager at the IBM Lexington Kentucky facility which developed and manufactured typewriters, printers and keyboards,Tom went on to become the corporate head of IBM’s Design Program (1989-1993). In this capacity he directed worldwide design and identity activities in collaboration with preeminent designers Richard Sapper and Paul Rand, while coordinating fifteen design centers in Europe, Japan and the United States. Tom presided over the successful launch of numerous products including the highly successful ThinkPad notebook computer series in 1992 (one of Business Week’s “Hot Products” in 1993). The original ThinkPad, together with other award winning product designs initiated during his corporate leadership tenure, helped lay the foundation for revitalization of IBM's brand image and product offerings in the 1990s.
Tom Hardy talks about getting the details and performance right in developing the first IBM P.C. keyboard.
Tom Hardy talks about Eliot Noyes and about the importance of observation. From an interview with Bret Smith in 2007. Copyright 2007 and 2008, Bret H. Smith. All rights reserved.