A Rare Interview with Jonathan Ive

Jonathan Ive rarely gives interviews, but on the occasion of being knighted and now becoming Sir Jonathan Ive, he consented to answer a few questions from the London Evening Standard.

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Despite the Evening Standard’s awful subtitle of “The iMan cometh” the article contains some great quotes and insights applicable to all designers:

Most of our competitors are interesting [sic] 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.

One of the things we’ve really learned over the last 20 years is that while people would often struggle to articulate why they like something – as consumers we are incredibly discerning, we sense where has been great care in the design, and when there is cynicism and greed. It’s one of the thing we’ve found really encouraging.

What is more difficult is when you are intrigued by an opportunity. That, I think, really exercises the skills of a designer. It’s not a problem you’re aware or, nobody has articulated a need. But you start asking questions, what if we do this, combine it with that, would that be useful? This creates opportunities that could replace entire categories of device, rather than tactically responding to an individual problem. That’s the real challenge, and that’s what is exciting.

Read the complete interview here.

Andy Polaine

Interaction and Service Designer, Writer, Lecturer, Researcher. Follow him on @apolaine.

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