The sacred status of design at Apple

The New Yorker profile on Jony Ive I posted about yesterday is rich with detail about the primacy of design at the world’s most valuable company. It’s such a long feature it took reading it over two days for me to finish it.

I’m struck by the near sacred status of design at Apple. The design studio seems to be the axis of action for the entire company. Instead of analyzing markets and matching products to the greatest profit potential, Apple enables the design team to dream up products that delight them and allows the time to let those ideas mature and to refine them meticulously.

There’s art AND science involved. Jony Ive clearly is THE taste maker. His eye and his raw, unfiltered intuition–his gut–are determining the way our world will end up looking and working.

Yet this story also highlights the precision Ive and his team apply to every iteration of every possible idea they explore. From pencil sketches of random ideas to intricate measurements of the angle of corners on app icons, these designers explore the possibilities with detail and depth and care that set their final products far apart from the rest of the industry.

A former Apple designer was quoted in the article on the reverence for design within the company:

when a designer joined a meeting at Apple it was “like being in church when the priest walks in.”

Apple has made design its driving force and built its culture accordingly. Every organization has a pecking order of its values, whether that order is intentional or not, spoken or simply implicit in the way the leadership focuses attention and resources.

It’s worth revisiting regularly what you and your team (or family) should value. What is most important and will make the biggest difference in your work? Is that getting the attention and respect and resources it deserves?