One of Steve Jobs’ paramount concerns throughout his career was the design of Apple’s products. From the very start of the company, he insisted on maintaining the highest possible standards for the truly elegant look and feel of every aspect of his company’s products. In Walter Isaacson’s superb biography entitled Steve Jobs (Simon & Schuster, 2011), this theme is often appears throughout the book.*
Apple’s lead designer, directly involved in the development of nearly all of their iconic devices, is Johny Ive. He and Jobs had a very long and highly productive professional relationship. Jobs often spoke of their deep friendship and mutual admiration.
Ive has been reluctant to grant many interviews during his career. However, he recently did speak with writer Robert Sullivan for an article that appears in the October 2014 issue of Vogue entitled A Rare Look at Design Genius Jony Ive: The Man Behind the Apple Watch. This is a terrific piece of journalism and a revealing insight into Ive’s background, design philosophy, influences and methods. Moreover, this piece is not merely limited to the recently announced Apple Watch, but rather, to a wide range of interesting topics. I highly recommend a click-through and full read if you have an opportunity. (See also its two sidebar stories about the watch and wearable technology.)
To briefly sum up, some of the key topics discussed here include:
- His close following of blogs about design, Apple’s products, rumors and speculation about Apple’s pending products.
- Apple’s top secret design studio were he works.
- His lifelong passion for DIY drafting and building of real things.
- How he and Jobs met, instantly “clicked” as a team and, in turn, how this lead to Apple’s laser-like focus on the philosphy, processes, materials and details of industrial design.
- Professional relationship with another well known industrial designer.
- The functionality, intentions and design perspectives that have gone into the Apple Watch
Mr. Ive has carefully and diligently distinguished himself as a singular creative force in a highly competitive global marketplace. I believe there is much to be learned from him in this piece for designers and and non-designers alike in many other fields, about how to excel in your work. Miss it not.
* According to an October 15, 2014 story posted on TheHollywoodReporter.com entitled Christian Bale in Talks to Play Steve Jobs, by Tatiana Siegel, the book is going to be turned into a movie. Negotiations are underway to cast Christian Bale in the lead role, with Danny Boyle directing and Aaron Sorkin writing the adaptation for the screenplay.