Jony Ive and upping our design standards

This New Yorker profile of Apple’s design chief, Jony Ive, is a fascinating look at not just the man, but also into the mysterious, vaunted design lab he orchestrates inside Apple.

Design has moved to the forefront of our culture in a way it never has been before, and Apple and Ive are at least partly responsible. Simplicity and clarity and utility and beauty are more valued in consumer experience than ever. My eyes and my sensibility feel a bit insulted now when I come across sloppy, ill-conceived design, from a web form that looks like it was made in the 1990s to the clunky user interface on the self-serve pump at a gas station.

Apple has made design a distinguishing feature of both its software and hardware products. And as the cultural and corporate juggernaut of our time, it seems to be raising expectations for what we should expect from not just our products, but from experiences as well.

It ultimately comes down to caring. Who cares enough to fully inhabit the user’s experience of a product or service and make it is as intuitive and as delightful as possible? Here’s Ive from the New Yorker feature:

“At the risk of sounding terribly sentimental, I do think one of the things that just compel us is that we have this sense that, in some way, by caring, we’re actually serving humanity,” he said. “People might think it’s a stupid belief, but it’s a goal—it’s a contribution that we can hope we can make, in some small way, to culture.”

The whole, very long article is well worth reading. And it makes me even more aware of the potential to design my work and the experiences I create with even greater care.

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