A Few Design Lessons From Apple
Apple's head designer Jony Ive--arguably one of the most influencial designers of our time--recently sat down with fellow designer Craig Federighi for a rare interview with USA Today. The two discussed the newest Apple releases (including the iPhone 5S and iOS 7) and the philosophies behind the company’s designs.
While the full article is worth a read if you're contemplating your own design direction, here's a quick digest of what the two had to say.
On easy vs. difficult design
"It's just easier to talk about product attributes that you can measure with a number. Focus on price, screen size, that's easy. But there's a more difficult path, and that's to make better products, ones where maybe you can't measure their value empirically,” Ive said.
Ive and Federighi talked about how the approach to designing Apple products is a reflection of the company as a whole and what they hope to do: create solutions to problems--even problems consumers aren’t aware they have.
"Look at that chair, we understand it because its form and function are the same thing, which is how the manufactured world has been for hundreds of years," said Ive. "And then incredibly and relatively recently, there's this opportunity but with a set of problems to create objects whose forms don't hint at what they do. And they're packed with incredible sophistication and capability."
"I've said this before, but simplicity is, well, it goes back to…you're trying to define the essence of something and come up with a solution that seems utterly inevitable and obvious," said Ive. "I think a lot of people see simplicity as the lack of clutter. And that's not the case at all. True simplicity is, well, you just keep on going and going until you get to the point where you go, 'Yeah, well, of course.' Where there's no rational alternative."
Ive's design credits go back two decades with Apple. He designed the candy-colored Macs in 1998 and the first iPod and iPhone, among many other products.