A head figure within the Apple dynasty, Sir Jonathan Ive established himself primarily by working with the Jobs-founded tech giant to curate the aesthetic and function of the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Ive acted as the leading designer in conceptualizing many of the original Apple products as well as the ones we use today. With a background in industrial design the 45-year-old was born in Chingford, England and now lives in San Francisco. The London Evening Standard recently sat down in Cupertino where the corporation has its headquarters.
Q: What makes design different at Apple?
A: 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.
Q: How does a new product come about at Apple?
A: 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 you see the most dramatic shift is when you transition from an abstract idea to a slightly more material conversation. But when you made a 3D model, however crude, you bring form to a nebulous idea, and everything changes – the entire process shifts. It galvanises and brings focus from a broad group of people. It’s a remarkable process.
The entire interview can be read here.