Apple’s Jony Ive Shares Design Philosophy and More in New Interview
Renowned Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) product designer Jony Ive recently discussed his design philosophy and overall approach to his work at Apple in a lengthy interview with the UK’s The Sunday Times. In the interview, Ive revealed that his approach to product design begins with imagining the purpose and function of a new object. Only after determining the function does he begin the lengthy and laborious process of designing the appearance of a product.
Ive revealed that his detailed design process can take him to some unusual places. For example, Ive consulted with candy makers to develop the brightly-colored original iMac. He later visited metalworkers in Japan to study how they hammered thin sheets of metal while he was developing the Titanium PowerBook. Although Apple’s products are sometimes criticized for being overpriced, Ive noted that the success of the company’s premium products show that consumers that are not “price-obsessed philistines.”
“We’re surrounded by anonymous, poorly made objects,” Ive told The Sunday Times. “It’s tempting to think it’s because the people who use them don’t care — just like the people who make them. But what we’ve shown is that people do care. It’s not just about aesthetics. They care about things that are thoughtfully conceived and well made. We make and sell a very, very large number of (hopefully) beautiful, well-made things. Our success is a victory for purity, integrity — for giving a damn.”
Ive observed that Apple’s tech products are “intimately personal” to people and that is what first drew him to work at Apple. “People have an incredibly personal relationship with what we make,” said Ive.
Ive told The Sunday Times that his core design team at Apple “is really much smaller than you’d think — about 15. Most of us have worked together for 15 to 20 years.” Ive’s design team is international and has members that hail from Britain, America, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. “We can be bitterly critical of our work. The personal issues of ego have long since faded,” said Ive.
Ive recalled that legendary Apple co-founder Steve Jobs shared Ive’s obsession for details and perfection. “When we were looking at objects, what our eyes physically saw and what we came to perceive were exactly the same,” Ive told The Sunday Times. “And we would ask the same questions, have the same curiosity about things.”
When asked how he felt about other companies imitating Apple’s designs, Ive was unequivocal in his response. “It’s theft,” Ive told The Sunday Times. “What’s copied isn’t just a design, it’s thousands and thousands of hours of struggle.”
Besides touching on his product design philosophy and his relationship with Jobs, Ive also briefly addressed rumors of an iWatch, albeit with an evasive answer. “Obviously, there are rumours about us working on … and obviously, I’m not going to talk about that. It’s a game of chess, isn’t it?”
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