Yet the Korean company is unable to come up with distinct enough designs to avoid being accused of purposefully creating products that look like knockoffs, per the ruling in the Apple v. Samsung trial. While Apple’s products are created by a “kitchen” design team comprised of no more than twenty people and led by SVP of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive, Samsung has 20 times as many designers as Apple, Bloomberg reports…

According to this Bloomberg story, the $1 billion ruling in the Apple v. Samsung case puts an enormous pressure on Samsung to steer away from Apple-like designs.

Samsung’s reputation is already tarnished in the eye of the public as the ruling has now established that the Galaxy maker was comfortable taking design cues from Apple rather than come up with their own unique and recognizable solutions.

Samsung’s initial challenge will be making its new generation of handsets look as different as possible from Apple iPhones. Future devices will probably boast more styluses, have control buttons in different places and come in shapes besides rectangles with rounded corners, said Alexander Poltorak, chief executive officer of General Patent Corp.

It’s not that Samsung isn’t trying. The Galaxy S III could hardly be called an iPhone knockoff and it’s been selling like hotcakes, too, which proves that customers value originality over copying.

Of course, Apple doesn’t share the sentiment as the company last week added the S III to a list of allegedly infringing products.

During the trial, we learned that Apple’s products are often brainstormed around a kitchen table by a team of about 15 designers.

Samsung’s Ive?

There are many, but the company as of recently employs the services of Chris Bangle, former head designer at Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (that’s BMW for you).

But hiring and retaining top-tier talent is only half of the equation. In order for these creative individuals to truly contribute to their employer, a structure needs to be put in place that removes all of the noise, politics and management obstacles so the design takes the center stage in product development.

At Apple, for instance, no meeting begins until a designer walks into the room.

It is a bit surprising to me, to say the least, that all of Apple’s competitors nowadays have all the advanced design and machining tools at their disposal yet somehow largely fail to produce original designs.

Up until a few years ago, only Apple had access to advanced equipment and was willing to pay through the nose for top-notch design work.

This tells me that, even with the right people and the right tools, Apple’s rivals lack the design culture in their organization needed to really push the envelope and create products with that lust factor.

What say you?

Does the S III stand on its own as a uniquely designed phone or does it have too many similarities with the iPhone’s look and feel?