View Full Version : Jony Ive is not a graphic designer

May 6, 2013, 04:10 PM
I read an interesting blog posting by Ben Thompson (http://stratechery.com/2013/jony-ive-is-not-a-graphic-designer/) who basically says it's silly to think all Ive is doing is updating the visual aesthetic; that the changes are only skin deep. He provides a quote from Ive from a few years ago:

One of the things thatís interesting about design [is that] thereís a danger, particularly in this industry, to focus on product attributes that are easy to talk about. You go back 10 years, and people wanted to talk about product attributes that you could measure with a number. So they would talk about hard drive size, because it was incontrovertible that 10 was a bigger number than 5, and maybe in the case of hard drives thatís a good thing. Or you could talk about price because thereís a number there.

But there are a lot of product attributes that donít have those sorts of measures. Product attributes that are more emotive and less tangible. But theyíre really important. Thereís a lot of stuff thatís really important that you canít distill down to a number. And I think one of the things with design is that when you look at an object you make many many decisions about it, not consciously, and I think one of the jobs of a designer is that youíre very sensitive to trying to understand what goes on between seeing something and filling out your perception of it. You know we all can look at the same object, but we will all perceive it in a very unique way. It means something different to each of us. Part of the job of a designer is to try to understand what happens between physically seeing something and interpreting it.

I think that sort of striving for simplicity is not a style. Itís an approach and a philosophy. I think itís about authenticity and being honest. Not just taking something crappy and styling the outside in an arbitrary disconnected way.

To me, "human interface" means not just how something looks but how a user interacts with it. From what I've read the HIG group is very small, similar to the industrial design group. And like the ID group the HIG group is locked down and only certain employees are allowed in their lab. Here's a recent job posting for the HIG group. Actually sounds quite interesting.


I think the media is getting too hung up on the whole flat vs skeuomorphism and thus is creating this meme that all Ive is doing is re-skinning iOS. Now it may be that we see more visual changes in iOS 7 because those were easier to implement in the time they had, but to assume all Ive is doing is getting rid of faux leather in the calendar app is a mistake, IMO.

May 6, 2013, 09:36 PM
Interesting, but this is already in the iOS blog: