[Q&A] Sir Jonathan Ive – The Man Behind the Beauty of Apple

Sir Jonathan Ive is one of the greatest designers of all time in my opinion. He is the imagination behind the design process for many of the great Apple products we have grown to love. He’s designed everything from the Mac computer, iPod, iPhone, iPad, basically anything you’ve seen in the last 20 years from Apple.

The products we’ve known to love and rely on wouldn’t be the same without the style that Jonathan Ive packs into them. Ive serves as Apple’s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design.

In a recent and rare Q&A with the Evening Standard‘s Mark Prigg the genius behind the beauty of Apple talks about the design process and the competition.

When asked about what makes design different at Apple:

We struggle with the right words to describe the design process at  Apple, but it is very much about designing and prototyping and making. When you separate those, I think the final result suffers. If something is going to be better, it is new, and if it’s new you are confronting problems and challenges you don’t have references for. To solve and address those requires a remarkable focus. There’s a sense of being inquisitive and optimistic, and you don’t see those in combination very often.

Exploring how a new product come about at Apple:

What I love about the creative process, and this may sound naive, but it is this idea that one day there is no idea, and no solution, but then the next day there is an idea. I find that incredibly exciting and conceptually actually remarkable.

The nature of having ideas and creativity is incredibly inspiring. There is an idea which is solitary, fragile and tentative and doesn’t have form.

What we’ve found here is that it then becomes a conversation, although remains very fragile.

When elaborating on Apple’s goals when setting out to build a new product:

Our goals are very simple – to design and make better products. If we can’t make something that is better, we won’t do it.

Why has Apple’s competition struggled to do that?

That’s quite unusual, most of our competitors are interesting in doing something different, or want to appear new – I think those are completely the wrong goals. A product has to be genuinely better. This requires real discipline, and that’s what drives us – a sincere, genuine appetite to do something that is better. Committees just don’t work, and it’s not about price, schedule or a bizarre marketing goal to appear different – they are corporate goals with scant regard for people who use the product.

Discussing the biggest challenges in constantly innovating:

For as long as we’ve been doing this, I am still surprised how difficult it is to do this, but you know exactly when you’re there – it can be the smallest shift, and suddenly transforms the object, without any contrivance.

Some of the problem solving in the iPad is really quite remarkable, there is this danger you want to communicate this to people. I think that is a fantastic irony, how oblivious people are to the acrobatics we’ve performed to solve a problem – but that’s our job, and I think people know there is tremendous care behind the finished product.

This is a pretty interesting interview and I highly suggest you read the entire interview.

Source: The Evening Standard

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