Jonathan Ive on Apple’s Design Process and Product Philosophy – NYTimes.com

Jonathan Ive on Apple’s Design Process and Product Philosophy – NYTimes.com.

Jonathan Ive, center, Apple's design chief, on the set of "Good Morning America" last year with Bono, left, of the music group U2.

Innovation at Apple has always been a team game. It has always been a case where you have a number of small groups working together. The industrial design team is a very small team. We’ve worked together, most for 15 or 20 years.

That’s a fairly typical story here: Creative teams are small and very focused. One of the underlying characteristics is being inquisitive and being curious. Some of those personal attributes and hallmarks haven’t changed at all.

Often when I talk about what I do, making isn’t just this inevitable function tacked on at the end. The way we make our products is certainly equally as demanding and requires so much definition. I design and make. I can’t separate those two.

This is part of Steve’s legacy. Deep in the culture of Apple is this sense and understanding of design, developing and making. Form and the material and process – they are beautifully intertwined – completely connected. Unless we understand a certain material — metal or resin and plastic — understanding the processes that turn it from ore, for example – we can never develop and define form that’s appropriate.

[…]

One of the values of things I learned absolutely directly from Steve was the whole issue of focus. What are we focusing on: focus on product. I wish I could do a better job in communicating this truth here, which is when you really are focused on the product, that’s not a platitude. When that truly is your reason for coming into the studio, is just to try to make the very best product you can, when that is exclusive of everything else, it’s remarkable how insignificant or unimportant a lot of other stuff becomes. Titles or organizational structures, that’s not the lens through which we see our peers.

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