REVEALED: The Designer Behind Google Glasses Explains The Top-Secret Project

Isabelle Olsson, Google Glasses senior designer

We just ran into Isabelle Olsson, the senior industrial designer on Google Glasses, right after she demonstrated the awesome Internet-connected eyewear on stage at the tech company’s big I/O 2012 conference in San Francisco.

She was wearing a set of Google Glasses, of course.

Olsson joined Google last year after getting recruited (through LinkedIn, she told us) from Fuseproject, Yves Behar’s design agency.

“My inspiration is to make it as minimal as possible without being boring,” Olsson told us. “I’m not interested in adding textures or patterns. Instead of trying to make it conventional, looking like glasses, literal, it’s essential.”

She cited Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec as designers who inspired her. They’ve done work for Ligne Roset and Habitat.

Olsson also said that working for Google X, cofounder Sergey Brin’s secretive skunkworks within Google, was “like working for a startup.”

“It’s easier to work in a group of all designers, but that’s kind of boring,” she said. Colleagues who don’t have a design background “ask all kinds of questions. It challenges you more.”

She also showed some of the features of the phone. To take a photo, you squeeze an area of the eyepiece near the lens—almost like miming taking a photo. When using the touchpad, you point a finger towards your temple—”almost like you’re saying, ‘Hmmm,’ and thinking,” Olsson explained.

Only a “handful” of Google employees currently have Google Glasses currently, she told us. At I/O, Brin announced that developers could preorder experimental test units for $1,500.