This article contains a collection of quotes on design from Jonathan Ive (or “Jony Ive,” as Steve Jobs called him), Apple designer. (Note: He prefers to refer to himself as a “builder” or “maker.”)
For those who don’t know of him, Jonathan Ive is credited with designing almost every Apple product since 1997. Given that very long string of success, I became interested in what Mr. Ive has to say, and to that end, here’s a collection of Jonathan Ive design interview quotes I’ve gathered over the last few years.
These short quotes are pulled from longer Jonathan Ive design interviews, which I’ll include below. (I’m skipping the double quotes on all these, but all of these quotes are all from Mr. Ive.)
These other short quotes have been written about Mr. Ive and the products he has designed:
Personally, I recommend taking these Jonathan Ive design interview quotes and putting them on a notecard or sheet of paper, and placing them where you can see them all the time. I’m not a designer, but I’ve put my favorite quotes on index cards next to my desk, which you can see here.
While I personally enjoy the short Jonathan Ive quotes shown above, it may help to see them in their original context, and to that end, here are the complete, original Jonathan Ive design quotes.
From a Design Museum Jonathan Ive interview:
“I figured out some basic stuff -- that form and colour defines your perception of the nature of an object, whether or not it is intended to.”
“I was really only interested in design. I was neither interested, nor good, at building a business.”
“Apple stood for something and had a reason for being that wasn’t just about making money.”
On Apple: “The defining qualities are about use: ease and simplicity. Caring beyond the functional imperative, we also acknowledge that products have a significance way beyond traditional views of function.”
Jonathan Ive quotes from a Business Week article:
“One of the hallmarks of the team is this sense of looking to be wrong. It’s the inquisitiveness, and sense of exploration. It’s about being excited to be wrong, because then you’ve discovered something new.”
Quotes from another interview:
“I want to see a problem solved in a way that acknowledges its context.”
“We try to solve very complicated problems without letting people know how complicated the problem was. That’s the appropriate thing.”
From a Wired interview:
About the Mac G5: “There’s an applied style of being minimal and simple, and then there’s real simplicity. This looks simple because it really is.”
“We wanted to get rid of anything other than what was absolutely essential, but you don’t see that effort. We kept going back to the beginning again and again. Do we need that part? Can we get it to perform the function of the other four parts?”
“It became an exercise to reduce and reduce, but it makes it easier to build, and easier for people to work with.”
“People have disconnected function from cosmetics,” he said, with a shake of his head.
“From a designer’s point of view, it’s not an appearance game we’re playing. It is very utilitarian. It’s the use of material in a very minimalist way.”
I’ve collected these Jonathan Ive design interview quotes over the last few years, and have most of them printed out. Going back and looking online for these design quotes, I found several of them at these two links:
(Sorry, there is one more Jonathan Ive interview I referred to here, but I only have a poor printout of it, and I can’t make out what website or magazine I found it in.)
If you’re interested in great design, I highly recommend reading this brief article on the Dieter Rams Ten Design Principles. As you’ll see from that article, Dieter Rams has been a huge influence on Apple design.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these Jonathan Ive (not Ives) design quotes. I thought about adding some commentary here, but I’ll just go with the minimalist approach, and let these quotes speak for themselves.