Iwata Asks, in this writer’s opinion, is one of the best corporate columns released on a regular basis. Nintendo President Satoru Iwata wrangles up a group of designers and developers and asks them all sorts of interesting questions regarding the projects they’re either working on at the time or that they have worked on before. The results are always fantastic and revealing.

This most recent bout is no exception. Iwata cornered Junichiro Miyatake, Yui Ehara, Hironori Akai, Hiroki Goto and Kazunori Koshiishi to discuss the physical design of the 3DS. The most interesting points of the chat center around the body of the handheld and the coating applied to the top of the clamshell.

The 3DS is split into three layers that flow in gradient color scheme. According to Ehara, this was done to aesthitically show the amount of content the handheld was receiving and displaying.

“We wanted to represent through the design how all kinds of content would come in, not just when you went out walking around with it, but also when you just had it sitting at home.”

Ehara expands on the layer scheme by explaining that it’s more about function than form. The top layer, as seen to the right, features a reverse taper. This was done specifically to increase the ease of opening the unit from any point along the top edge, not just from a single slit in the center like on laptops or other clamshell devices.

The second layer is sunk in compared to the exteriors. This layer houses things like the volume buttons. It’s been indented to reduce the risk of accidentally hitting buttons and to make opening the device even easier.

Finally, the bottom layer is home to most of the devices labels. There are 6 LEDs on the device, two more than the DSi. Most of the labels for these LEDs take up residence in the bottom layer of the unit, thus making them easier to quickly identify.

On a point where a lot of gadget lovers take notice, both Akai and Ehara point towards the new coating they’ve implemented for the top layer of the 3DS. They’ve come up with an anti-fingerprint UV coating that will make wiping grubby paw prints off of the device quick, easy and apparent. They’ve actually made a concentrated effort to reduce the oil film residue that comes from shiny black surfaces on gadget. Here’s hoping it works as well as they claim.

As a fan of tech and a lover of design, I implore you to dive face first into Iwata Asks. There’s more to be had from this volume, but every volume is great.

[via Iwata Asks]